Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Soguillo Del Paramo 1811

Myself and my old French opponent James, were able to take advantage of a local gaming open day to put a decent number of models on table and play a good sized battle of Black Powder.

I set up a simple scenario of a British Brigade defending an isolated farm, with two other brigades dashing to their aid in the face of larger numbers of French in assault formation already closing on their position.

James was to bring some of his own models for the first time, but whilst waiting for him I got the bulk of things set up:

From the British rear
 We had about a 7x5 foot play area, which would be played lengthwise.  Not much room for flanking manoeuvres perhaps but it would allow for delays in the arrival of the rearguard.  The British would always be holding on for time.

Meanwhile the dense French lines looked daunting, even before their full numbers arrived:

Grenadiers lead the march
But the British were confident that they could hold out in farm, making use of its' orange grove for concealment and drystone walls for protection.

La Granga, a fortress in the making
 One brigade of British reserves was formed of Portuguese troops, stiffened by a battalion of Highlanders.

The 79th lead the way
 Whilst the other was of solid British troops led by the Guards.  Between the two were Allied and British cavalry, advancing along the road.

Rocky ground barred the British way
As the final French arrived, dense columns of new recruits appeared in the centre.  James models were painted and based but not yet quite finished; they still looked the part though, and helped increase the numbers of figures to around 700 on the day.  In effect we had a divisional sized battle ahead of us, typical of many of the encounters in the peninsular, with around 10,000 French facing about 6,000 Allied.

A scary sight, such thick masses
 Battle opened with the French taking first turn, and James swiftly advanced on the farm.  His centre brigade, screened by skirmishers of the Legion Irlandaise, moved swiftly upon the British.

Clouds of dust rise...
 In response I tried to rush forwards my brigades, and reinforce the farm.  As it was the left made good progress through the rough ground, but the Portuguese were less mobile and so the cavalry found themselves plugging the gaps.

A hurried advance for the British
 On his next turn James aimed to attack the farm before I was ready, but poor communication led to a blunder (one of many the French would endure) and the central brigade turned to it's left and marched clumsily toward the farm house itself rather than the British line before them.

The French Hussars leading their cavalry attack apparently received a similar 'Left Face order, and were in danger of leaving the field of battle!  This allowed the British to address their lines and contain the other brigades with cannon and rifle fire.

Closest the camera the International Brigade approaches the British line
 For the next turn, James was joined by Paul, and I gained the aid of another of our James' (at least four in the club, not even counting my mate whose 'new' to gaming).  With two commanders per side the game would be more entertaining, and we could both at least lay some blame on dice rolling elsewhere!

The French centre got its act together and the great mass tried to fight into the corn field, defended by two lines of redcoats.
Here they come!
 The British waited until the first battalion began to reach the wall before unleashing a devastating fusilade.  The French wavered then ran leaving many dead and wounded, but their flanking battalion, a little slower in the advance and unharmed so far made it to the wall and were able to force the stout defenders back through their friendly lines.  In the event both sides were forced to retire, and latterly the British reserve took up the place of their comrades at the wall.  The first attack of the French was repulsed with heavy loss on both sides.

Elsewhere British cavalry did what it always does, saw the enemy and charged it rashly.

Not the plan
 The 16th Dragoons suddenly found themselves out numbered three to one and, after giving the French Hussars a bloody nose, were routed.  This left the allied cavalry holding the baby, and none too keen on it really.

On the left of the farm, The international Brigade, formed of the Regents' Spanish, French and German troops suffered the loss of its' unwilling Westphalian regiment to sustained British fire.

Schnell, schnell!!
 The French centre went in again, and made a little progress, forcing the British back from the wall.  To the other side of the farm the Grenadier led brigade was pinned by artillery fire from the Orange grove, and found - as happened for most of the battle - that its' own artillery was out of position and unable to effectively reply.  With some strange rush of blood to their head the voltigeurs of the two brigades tried to assault the farm with only their own mutual support; rash, and futile.

The biggest threat at this stage was French cavalry breaking through, so the Highlanders and Lusitanian Legion dutifully formed square and hoped for the best.

What transpired to be the French high-watermark
 At this stage the British left was grinding down the international brigade, forcing it to retire, although one Spanish regiment found itself seriously unstuck.

Almost unfair
 At this stage the French attacks were disintegrating, and efforts to fight in to the farm were coming to naught.  Especially as Portuguese troops came up up to provide reinforcement.

Welcome gentlemen!
 Seen from the French lines the problem was apparent.

Sacre Bleu!
 The international brigade was attempting to rally and in doing so was forced to retire in the face of the enemy.  The centre was holding by a thread, whilst the Grenadiers had been raked by fire to the point of destruction, bringing its' brigade to a crisis point.  In a desperate move the French shifted their cavalry to the opposite flank in an effort to shore up their lines.

It was not a success.

Rashly thrown into the hornets nest
 As the French centre collapsed the British advanced out of the farm and flanked the Hussars.  Supported by a company of rifles they made short work of the horsemen and put them to flight.

And by that point it was all over for the French attack.  Ultimately they had not been able to coordinate enough force to throw the British back.  They had got a toe hold at times in the farm, but in the end British firepower was enough to drive them back.

All over bar the shouting
James and Paul were defeated, t'other James and I revelled in a hard won victory.  As it turned out the lay of the land could have been held by less allied troops than I actually had - trying this again I might cut the allied infantry numbers by a quarter or so to give the French more chance.  But luck played a hand in it too, James laboured with five or six blunders ruining his attacks, and unwilling troops stalling in musketry range, which is never a good thing against the British!

Once more a grand game, and great to get all those troops on the table, with James' extra men I actually was able to leave some of my collection in their boxes for once.  Visually it looked great, especially at the start, and given it was an open day for gaming it attracted a fair bit of interest and approving comments.

However after set up, five hours of play and pack up I was burned out.  I sacked off the following four hours of gaming to go hope for food and TV instead.

A battle hard won is a tiring thing indeed.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Something different on the Show Front...

Ordinarily I only go to a couple of gaming shows a year, and they're usually in-out affairs, where I take a few snaps and buy a few bits and get gone as quickly as I can.  The exceptions to date have been the handful where I've put on a display game, and been expected to hang around all day.

Well next week I'm going completely against those principles, with a trip to a four day gaming convention.

In Germany.  No less.

Yep, big time board game fans will already know this must mean I'm going to Essen.  Europe's, possibly the world's biggest gaming show.  It was a bit of a last minute thing, but it is part of an intent to do stuff a little out of my familiarity zone again.  It's not the sort of event I can sneak in and out of in a few hours, rather it's four days of 9-5 gaming with a few guys from the gaming club taking the lead (thankfully at least one has fluent German).

A not entirely serious map of the venue

Now the event is mainly known for board gaming, this is Germany - home of the Eurogame - after all, but there is also plenty of roleplaying, LARP, comics, and hopefully figure gaming too.  And of course, it's going to be all about playing games, lots and lots of games.

And then maybe buying a few.

This could get kinda expensive.

More to report in due course folks, I set off Wednesday...

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Kings of War on the Home Front

Jim came round for what was to be his first game of Kings of War, and his first figure game in *cough, cough* years.  I set up my new home table - an ingenious combination of two Ikea coffee tables and some MDF - and two 2,000 point armies and we set too...
The arrays face one another
Not only a first run out for the table, but also a first run for my new scenery collection.  Just enough bits for a decent layout.  We rolled the invasion scenario and began to array our forces.  I guess Jim's played enough computer wargames to have some idea what to do, as his deployments were sensible enough.  I got first turn and began to advance my Dogs of War army against his Orcs.

Menfolk advance with conviction
By comparison, Jim was overly cautious at first, grasping that the pre-measuring allowed you to calculate charges and firing zones easily, but not that falling into the enemy's hands was inevitable and you needed to do so if you were to deliver your own attacks in force.  As a result in the first two or three turns he hung back when ploughing forward would've made better tactical sense.

Cavalry tempt the Orc hordes
But throughout the game luck generally favoured him, I particularly was rolling badly in attacks and ranged shooting, which meant I couldn't drive a wedge in his battle lines.

Simon and the Orc centre advance cautiously
Battle is joined, left and right
On my left Jim's first attack by his fleabag riders rolled away allied Ogre cavalry and gave me a real headache.  On the right I had to go for it and use all my remaining cavalry to try and smash through.

Goblins do their best against the knights
This led to a large general action as Jim began to bring up his reserves.  On my left Simon the giant added to the pressure by attacking my Ogre horde, whilst an Ogre captain put up a valiant last stand against the goblin cavalry.

Simon gets stuck in
The right flank eventually would go well for me, but it was proving too late in the game.  The job was a long and bloody one.

The knights try to break the Orc lines
A general melee ensues along the line
Finally Jim's centre joined the battle, allowing itself to be savagely flanked in the process.

An Orc mass is cornered
However my luck was still struggling offer me the results I deserved; well, in my opinion...

Orcs hold sway on my left, men hold sway to the right
Simon destroyed my ogres and the Orc horde in the centre was more than holding its' own.  I had to rush my general from the far side of the battlefield to attack them from behind.
Simon breaks through, as the Human general does too
This finally did the job, but time was running out.  The giant was into my artillery, ans last desperate attempts to bring him down came to naught.
By now it is a case of trying to hold ground
My cavalry were virtually unscathed, having obliterated the right flank, but only part of that force was able to make an appearance in the centre.  Dispatching the last of the Orc Morax regiments.  With that all the Orc rank and file were gone; but with his general, Simon and the fleabag riders still ravaging my rear lines, I was still in trouble.  It would depend on whether we had another round of battle or not.
Too many Orcs left in my territory
Jim rolled a three and the game ended on the sixth turn.  To my detriment; Jim's remaining forces were all sat in scoring zones of the battlefield, whilst mine were not.  Jim was declared victor.

Another good game, though with teaching the rules this was slower than previous games.  Also the annoyance of dealing with hundreds of individually based figures really got to me this game, and so a radical solution must be undertaken.

More on that another day...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Austrian 15mm: Jager's and Artillery

I return to study for my Masters Degree this week, so that will soon become the latest interruption to the progress of painting as I find myself embroiled in reading on Project Management and the like instead.  Still there is a backlog of painting (and games!) to report, and I'm closing on the completion of my target for my initial 15mm Austrian army.

A fourth regiment has now been added, this being the first break from the all white scheme to date.  This is a Jager battalion; notionally the 2nd, who were brigaded alongside IR.10 at Aspern-Essling:

Jager Regiment in line
A chance to get away from that white, Iron grey is certainly an easier colour to work with.  Having both elements of the Brigade It was time for a commander to appear, In this case I went with their Divisional commander, as the rest of his force was cavalry, Here is Fieldmarshal Lieutenant Fresnal, with an aide from IR.10 by his side.
Lastly for this post, I painted a Grand Battery's worth of cannon, after all, I only needed to paint 12 gunners for 4 guns so it wasn't too much effort:

A lot of cannon!
I think I've managed the uniforms and guns well enough, these are Austrian 6 pounders - the only model Warrior Miniatures offers for their Austrians, but it does come with the characteristic horse artillery seat to add variety.  I'll save that for the second battery.

A little more cavalry and a third general and I'll have hit my target for autumn.

Time to try and arrange a debut in battle for them...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Imperial Assault - More Figures

No clever title again today, just some nice output from the painting table*.  Lots of Star Wars product in this post, why? well, I'm playing Imperial Assault regularly, so that's a good enough reason, but also they are surprisingly simple to paint well.  I'm getting pleasing results with limited highlights followed by a glazed wash.  This means even the biggest of the models takes no time.

 I'm trying to keep to cinematic paint schemes where appropriate - we'll see what breaks that rule in a little while - and so in many cases, such as the AT-St above that actually means relatively litle detailing.  No insignia, no paint markings, movies tend to skimp on such things when it's not that important.  One must presume that vid-screens and the like help commanders identify their unit walkers in combat, as nothing else would single this one out.
For the Emperor
 The same is true of the Imperial Royal Guard above and the E-Web gunners (Scout troopers) below:
'Pew-Pew' noises mandatory
 There's also the probe droid.  My memories of it from 'Empire' wereas virtually black, but production shots I found showed it to be more of a deep grey:
Bleep, etc...
 The same was not the case for you know who:

A disturbance in the Force
 How do you make Vader look like more than just an undercoated model?  Well theres a fine highlight to the blacks - infact very deep grey to give the shaded wash something to work with - and the helmet and other parts are finished with gloss varnish to get the right finish.  But the main thing here is one of my rare forays into OSL (Off Source Lighting); trying to give the impression of Lord Vader's lightsaber; illuminating him somewhat.  I've not gone overboard, and could've done a little more, but I think it works.

All the outright bad guys covered for this group, next the 'neutral' Trandoshan Hunters:

Lizard guys in a flight suit
 In the original trilogy, the only Trandoshan I recall is Bossk, one of the bounty hunters first seen alongside Boba Fett.  These models are similar, but not identical and so clearly not meant to specifically be Bossk.  The massive rucksack in particular is a bit odd, but I guess in their role as bounty hunters they need something to carry suitable provisions and restraints in.  Since finishing these, I've decided to change the bases to reflect their being part of a different faction in game.  After all Imperials are on grey, and Rebels...

 ...On brown!  I also managed to do a couple of the heroes from the set the Wookie and the Twi'lek.

And from behind.
A little bit of of highlighing for sure, but the Wookie's thick fur was done by a wash over the base colour, a highlight and then a second wash.  Simplicity itself.

Last but not least is the Hero of the Rebellion himself, Luke Skywalker:

Again, simplicity, and the model virtually painted itself.

So I'm now about halfway through the models for the core box and it's supplements.  Time for a small break for some other subjects I think.

*In truth, there is no table, I paint with a small tray on my lap at the minute.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Kings of War 2nd Ed - Battle is Joined

Hurrah! a battle report!

Hurrah, Kings of War 2.0 arrived!  In a rare stroke of good fortune I was the first amongst my gaming buddies to receive his Kickstarter package of the rules; two shiny rulebooks, counters, wound markers (not great in my opinion but you can't have everything, eh?) and a wee metal minstrel.  Another figure followed later.  This seemed like a good opportunity, having got my miniature collection into some order again, to arrange a battle.

Ross' Ogres would be the opponent, and we agreed to 2,500 points.  It was just small enough for me to field my Orcs and Goblins rather than the Dogs of War.

This I was able to do by fielding a lot of Orc Morax, armed with dual weapons chucking out a fistful of attacks, and two giants.  Simon and Nigel.

For Ross' part, he also fielded a giant along with hordes of Ogres armed with clubs and cannon.  We had the classic Kill and Pillage scenario, and lined up across pretty even handed terrain where the position of the pillage markers slightly favoured me.

From the Ogre lines
Legions of Ogres in Ross' centre
Orcs bolster the lines of allied goblins I needed
The Orcs advanced cautiously, looking to create traps and kill zones for the advancing Ogres.  They naturally used their pace to close range quickly, Ross looking to get his shotgun-esque missle troops in range quickly.

 Ross took the bait on my left, hitting my Orc Ax horde (40 chaps with shields) with a legion of Ogres.  As hoped we weathered the storm, and three units smashed into the Ogres on the counter-attack; resulting in 36 wounds on the unit, which swiftly dispersed.  This left a huge gap in Ross' line.  But he wasn't yet worried.  I had problems of my own...

There's a bit of a gap on my flank
 A regiment of fleabag riders covering my flank had bolted at the first strike of a troop of wolves, leaving my flank wide open.  I was going to need to redeploy to face a threat that could wreak havoc with my defence.  Forward Simon and my Krudger general in a chariot, in an attempt to delay the enemy from exploiting my problems.

Disorder, disorder
 Not everything by this point was going to plan, when you're relying on Goblins to face down Ogres you know you're on the ropes.  Although things were going ok on my left, I'd lost my own horde and some of my other key troops and it was getting difficult to contain the Ogres.  Simon and the Krudger had fallen to countless blows, whilst Nigel was far to the left; away from potential new foes.

Possession is 9/10ths of the law
Moreover the Ogres sat on three of the five objectives, whilst I could at best lay claim to only one.  Although the losses under the Kill part of the scenario were roughly even, possibly slightly in my favour by the end of six turns, the values of the objectives placed the victory clearly in Ross' hands,

A tight game, that I could have won with a bit of luck.

This isn't intended to be a full review of Kings of War 2nd ed. that may follow as I am aware after Age of Sigmar there are many people interested in the rules.  But it is safe to say they are streamlined without losing any of the elements that made the original game great, it is still easy to learn, fast to play, challenging and fun.

I look forward to more.