Saturday, 14 July 2018

The mouth of the Chickatachee River

I kicked off my ACW campaign game today with an amphibious assault on the mouth of the Chickatachee River. Fort Chiccanchee sits on a bluff overlooking and dominating the river on it's left bank. On the right bank a couple of redoubts have been built to house some artillery. Alongside the big guns, there is a battalion of Confenderate infantry on either bank.

The Union assault would be led by two Ironclads - the USS Humphrey and USS Hunter, to be followed up by two timberclads carrying the assault troops. The plan was to suppress Fort Chiccanchee before landing two battalions to take it by storm. Once the left bank was secure, the boats would concentrate on the right bank and land the last two battalions. If things didn't go well on the left bank, a extra two battalions would be used to reinforce the assault on the fort.

The first two Ironclads steam into the river mouth. Fort Chiccanchee sits on the right in this photo (left bank).

Fort Chiccanchee, consisting of heavy emplaced gun, mortar and a defensive redoubt with defensive artillery.

The view from the river just before the bombardment commences.

The big guns fire

In it's first shot the USS Humphrey manages to take out the big gun. 

And next thing the USS Hunter destroys the artillery in the redoubt. This is looking too easy!

The heavy battery on the right bank scores a hit on the USS Humphrey, which reduces her speed.

The timberclads arrive.

The naval landing troops and 18th Ohio landed.

Clibing the slopes towards Chiccanchee. The South Carolina battalion can't stop them.

USS Humphrey lands another lucky hit on the last heavy artillery redoubt.

USS Hunger has taken a few hits that have knocked out some guns, but it still manages to land a battalion on the right bank.

The assault goes in on Fort Chiccanchee

The Right bank landing is getting into some trouble

The Ohio enter the fort from the rear and flank the South Carolinians...

... who can't hold on and rout!

The Confederate mortar is put out of action and the stars and stripes flies over fort Chiccanchee!

But things are going very badly on the right bank. 

The remnants of the landing party withdraw. 
So a mixed result. The primary objective, Fort Chiccanchee was taken and the left bank of the river mouth secured, but the Confederates still have control of the right bank. This means that the campaign in the Chickatachee valley will be without riverboat support, at least until another assault landing can be attempted.

I married the Featherstone-style ACW rules with a simple set of Ironclad rules written by Andy Callan and available for free on the net. They worked well, but I had to reduce the armour values of the ironclads mid game, otherwise it was taking way too long to do any damage. I also realised that none of my Featherstone style rules have any modifier for being outnumbered in melee, so I need to go and change that.


Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Huns at home

I set up a DBA game this afternoon wondering if the Huns would ever be able to make anything of themselves in this game, and to my surprise their first roll was a 1 vs the Eastern Patrician Roman 6. That meant the Huns were playing at home, and they duly selected their terrain, the last of which didn't fit on the board and was discarded.
The armies line up. Both kept their general and an element in reserve

The first turn was notable for both sides rolling a 1. Nevertheless, both made aggressive moves on opposite flanks.

It didn't take long before the Hunnic light horse had the upper hand against their Roman counterparts. The Roman response was some bow fire at the Gepid knights that got a recoil result.

A clash of arms in the centre as the Hunnic warbands charged the Roman archers and auxilia, managing to kill off an auxilia.

The last Roman Light Horse goes down. Now to deal with those pesky legionaries.

The result was the flight of the first of the Hun light horse. In the centre more flanking moves were carried out.

By now all of the Light Horse have been forced to flee by the Roman Legionaries, while the centre remains stalemated.

This Hun facing the wrong way in between the legionaries and competing cavalry managed to somehow survive the game.
But the camp is unguarded and seized and plundered by the Huns, signalling the end of the game. Bacon for dinner tonight!

4-1 victory to the Huns
I've never seen the Huns do so well, and a lot of it had to do with some poor Roman PIP dice, but also the manoeuvrability of the Light Horse. Spreading the legionaries between the two wings might have been an answer, but I was trying to keep them away from the Warband quick kill ability.

At any rate, I was very pleased wit hthis Hunnic performance, as I felt that they were totally outgunned by their Roman opponents in past games.


Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Things wot I know I don't like

An exercise in navel gazing today, as I take a look at certain things in the hobby that I have an adverse reaction to. This isn't intended to be a shot at anyone, just some musings on things that I've noticed or played with in the hobby that just don't do it for me. Wargaming is a broad school, and this blog can attest to my eclectic nature in terms of what I do like, which is varied and not easily pigeon-holed. But there are some things that I'm not particularly fussed about.

#1 - Big Battalions:
I'll be honest - in horse and musket games in general, but Napoleonics in particular, there is a tendency towards big battalions - particularly as shown in the wargames press - and I don't like it. I'm turned off by units of 24+ figures on both a practical and an aesthetic level. Since I started wargaming with plastic 1/72 figures, a battalion has been 16 figures. Sometimes I have extended this out to 18 figures (Marlburian for instance), or lowered it to 12 (ACW for instance), but that is really the limit of my Horse and Musket playground. When I see 36 figure units all I can think is that there is actually 2 units worth of painting there, and what a waste it is putting them all into one unit.  It also starts to limit manouevre especially with 28mm figures, and aesthetically I find a table crammed with large units sitting bumper to bumper (to take a phrase that is a common criticism of Flames of War) to be unhistorical and messy. Not all (in fact hardly any) Napoleonic battles were as crowded as Waterloo and Borodino.
A recent game at the club with just too many figures cluttered up on the table for my liking.
There are many who feel that big battalions should be the pinnacle of wargaming, and the hobby would be poorer without them. I agree with neither of these points. Obviously.
Incidentally, I'm not against big armies, just unwieldy and ugly masses of figures masquerading as a single unit.

#2 - Aerial (Space) games:
I love Star Wars and collected a few X-Wing models, but the games just left me cold. Basically I've never found a spaceship (or aerial) game that I really enjoy. I've tried Wings of War (Glory), and like X Wing, it was OK, but not what I want to spend my gaming time doing.
Tried it. Didn't like it. Models are fantastic though.

#3 - DBMM/R:

I love DBA. Absolutely love it, and DBA 3.0 is the best yet. But DBMM and DBR leave me cold. I tried DBR for a few years, and the guys I played against were really cool, but the rules themselves I found geometric and cold. It seemed that a degree in history was not as useful as a degree in maths, and to me that is not something that should happen in a wargame.

# 4 - Games where the meta matters:
The thing that turns me off about many games is the list-building aspect of them. 40K, Warmachine, etc leave me cold. Now I do enjoy Flames of War and Team Yankee, which do have their own meta, but this is restricted to some extent by history. I'm unlikely to come up against an army composed entirely of British TOGs for instance. It also has a lot to do with the people I game with, many of whom are more interested in the history than the points. Not that I don't like points, but only as a guideline as opposed to building a killer list.

#5 - Overly detailed rules:
I've tried a lot of different games and rules, and I keep coming back to the idea of KISS (keep it simple stupid). If I have to work out which type of canteen a character in a game needs to take, then it is too complicated. If I have to check morale on a unit 3 times in a turn on 3 different tables (test to stand, test to fire at chargers, test to break upon losing melee), then this isn't a set of rules I want to play. I really wanted to like Infinity, for instance, because the figures are fantastic and Mike was really keen. But I found the rules to be opaque and the game just wasn't enjoyable. Not for me, move on.
Sorry, Mike.

#6 - Horses hooves:

I think that there is something that everyone dreads painting. For me, it is horse hooves. There is nothing rational about this. I just don't like doing it, especially on 15mm figures.

And that's about it. People will disagree about some of this stuff, but we all have our own take on the hobby. I'm sure my love of skirmish games and solo gaming would be irksome to some people. Just how it is. I might have a think and publish another post about things that I like, but that would have to be a very long list, surely?


Sunday, 8 July 2018

Barbarian warband

I haven't painted anything for my Song of Broken Legions game so far this year. Nor have I played any battles. But I've had these beautiful Celtos figures sitting around for ages now, and before I finish Craig's next wave of stormtroopers I thought I'd get them finished.
The full warband

The hero (reminds of Slaine), and a battlemaiden wearing next to nothing.

Druid and chap with a magic spear.

A couple of champions.

Some expendables with spears.

Some more expendables, but this time with a bit of armour and shields.
These are perfect to face a Roman expedition into the heart of druid territory in order to recover some mystical object or other. I'll try and get a game with them soon.

In other news, The Perry Zulu Wars figures have proved too tempting for me to resist. I'm putting together a couple of forces for the Men Who Would Be Kings rules, and here are a couple of test elements that I've done so far.
All the black on the figures are actually German grey washed with a black wash.

The skin colour is chocolate brown with army painter dark tone ink wash and then highlighted with chocolate brown.

I went with the blue facings of the 13th Light Infantry, rather than the usual green of the 24th. I'm looking more at Woods' column to base my forces on.

I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out to far.
I'm going to add some Natal Naval Contingent and the Natal Carbineers (because of their cool spikey helmets) to the Brits. I still need to get one more box of Zulus so I've got 6 units.

We played a game at John's a couple of weeks back as well. The first Team Yankee game since our little tournament in April. My Soviets went up against the Brits and John's yanks took on my West Germans commanded by Paul. Both of my armies lost, which just shows how crap I am when it comes to the meta of any game. I hate list building and just tend to take what I like. Mike has a habit of hiding for most of the game, and I need to learn to be a bit more patient. My natural inclination is always to move forward, but in the open the Russian tanks don't last long.
The only picture I took shows my hinds doing damage, but not fast enough for my army to survive.
I've currently got some stormtroopers and ACW heavy artillery on the painting tray. There's 2 weeks of holiday coming up and I'd like to try and use it to get all of Craig's Star Wars legion and my 15mm ACW completed.


Saturday, 16 June 2018

Moss troopers, werewolves and Ned Kelly wannabes

This is the latest round of painting for Geoff, and again it is a bit of an eclectic mix.
First up, some Perry Moss troopers:
I used the beautiful illustrations from the Osprey Border Reivers MAA for inspiration regarding colours, while trying to make them suitably drab at the same time.

And all 5 together
Then it was on to some Warlord Games Werewolves:
These were fun figures to paint.

The view from the rear
Finally, there are these Artizan pulp constables in armour, basically Ned Kelly rip offs, and they are seen in this photo with a captured German zombie officer (can you capture a zombie? Would you want to?).
So that was a fun lot of painting to do, and they'll be heading to the South Island on Monday.

Now I have some 28mm Warlord Games Napoleonic French artillery and a batch of rebel alliance troopers to paint. I may try and sneak a bit of my own painting in there too.


Saturday, 9 June 2018

A bit of khaki

Just finished the first dozen figures I'm painting for Geoff, some WWI BEF, Foundry Home Guard and a 20mm para.
 I'm struggling with eyes at the moment. I just can't seem to buy a brush that holds the paint and keeps a tip.

Still need to paint the chinstrap on this guy
Just working on some Moss troopers at the moment.