Wednesday, January 31, 2007

St Martins 1643

Being a hypothetical game set in the English Civil War; using Peter Pigs' "Regiment of Foote" rules.

The two armies before the battle; The Royalists under Hopton with 6 Horse troops, 6 companies of Foot and 2 cannon:

Parliament, under Waller; 5 Horse and 6 Foot, 3 cannon:

Being Peter Pig rules there is a pre-game sequence to be carried out, some may call it foreplay even (not my opponent though!). The campaign system determines a number of details about the game, such as who is the attacker (he who ends up marching most) supplies, disease and losses in skirmishes. All of which goes a long way to adding character and a back story to a game. For my part as Parliaments true hand, I found disease and cavalry engagements cost me men, but I was left with a more experienced army overall. The net effect for the Royalists were negligable in this instance; he managed to avoid both the good and bad results.

The campaign determined Waller was the attacker, so Hopton had to choose his field of battle, and see which of his troops were available. I'd have to say Hopton picked his field of battle very, competitively, I had no luck influencing it. However when it came to reserves, he found himself with few troops on the ground.

Hopton Deployed an modest foot centre, defending a stonewalled field, with Horse flanks. Waller deployed his weakest troops to the left, a strong Foot and Artillery centre, and a veteran Horse flank on the right:

There was an opening Cannonade by both sides, which saw Wallers heavy gun 'Bess' inflict casualties on the Royalist centre. Once this was over the Parlimentary foot began an enthusiastic advance.

The Royalists elected to stand and take it until the reserves arrived in force, meanwhile the centre of the Parliamentarians closed, whilst the Horse moved more slowly.

The centre moved into range of the Royalists and started to hammer them with fire, The royalists however were able to keep their heads down and suffered negligable losses. Hopton kept them in check and used the field as a strong point to marshal his forces from as a trickle of reserves began to arrive.

On Wallers right Hoptons horse charged, and did some harm, but the Parliament horse could throw reserves in where the royalsts could not, and soon pursued the remnants of the royalist troop off the field. Then another troop of royalists inflicted a similar result onto another unit of the right flank, they pursued of course, taking their commander with them. Not having a commander around can cripple forces, but even so this left my infantry exposed, so as a precaution Waller formed the right flank company of foot into a pike stand.

It was time to finish the business of the day. With both Royalist flanks clearly stalled, Waller sent the Tower Hamlets trained band in against the field. Melees involved lots of dice rolls in this fight it was around 40 D6 for me against 30 for the Royalists. Hoever they were conscripts, whereas the trained band were London veterans. I had twice the chance of causing damage, and did so with aplomb.

The Conscripts were wiped out, and Hopton fell amongst them. The Royalists had to hand command to another in the centre (a dice roll determining quality), sadly only toadying fop was available for the task. His brief command was of little help to their campaign; he too was killed when the trained band rolled up the second company of foot in the centre. The next available commander could was barely old enough to sit in a saddle, and despite some reserves coming up into places they could stall the enemy, he decided to seek Parley.

Parley gives a commander opportunity to end a battle early on favourable terms, in this instance Waller was prepared to listen, and the parley went well for the Royalists, but none the less they were found to be well beaten; to everyones relief, Hopton limped into camp late that night, anasty concussion and a cracked skull had left him amogst those lain on the field until sunset.

All in all Regiment of Foote give an excellent feel for the period, with lots of nuances that add to it reflecting the particular circumstances of the English Civil War. It has to be notable too, as a game that possible requires more dice than a game of Warhammer.

It plays to all the Peter Pig/RFCM strengths, is reasonably quick, and good fun.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A new convert

To Acrylic paint that is...

I think I may be one of the last wargamers using Enamel paints; I have done so for OVER 20 years! However I was getting increasingly dissatisfied with them, not so much from the working standpoint, I knew no different, but from the longevity and pracicality.

I can't remember the last time I actually finished a pot of enamel by painting it out. Doing figure work means small amounts of colour out the pot often, so they eventually go off, The oil separates from the pigment and dries on it's own; from that point on the pot is stuffed - good for dry brushing and diluting with thinners for a few more jobs, but really you buy 14ml of paint to use 5ml. They'd stopped being economic. Furthermore there's the thinners, the smell (which I'm now immune to but noone else is), and so forth.

The last straw was Humbrol/Airfix going bust in the summer; it meant supplies of my preferred paints were about to expire. From that point on I wondered if acrylics were worth another try...

I'd last used acrylics paint in about 1990, and loathed them. To be fair my technique at the time was rotten but I found them too thin, a mix of Humbrol and GW acrylic paints were relegated to a sideline job at the time - colouring latex for fantasy masks (say no more).

So anyway, a long preamble but I've cracked; last week I spent £30 on Vallejo Model Colours, from my local model shop (Halifax Modellers World). I got a starter set and a few extra colours to fill out my pallete, and looked for something to paint. I had a Goblin Spear Chucka as a present for xmas, which seemed like a good thing to try. The weapon itself was already part painted in oils so I used the crew as a test bed:

I need to relearn my favoured colours these goblins are greener and more cartoony than my normal goblins, but overall I was really impressed. The cover was excellent over a black undercoat, the paints were a revalation for being so smooth and consistent. All I had to do was shake the bottle and get on with it. The paints mixed well and went on smooth; and didn't dry so fast that the brush suffered.

Only disadvantage I could find is that the paint has no tolerance for handling, it rubs off with any degree of friction - enamels don't - I need to see if using an enamel undercoat helps, in which case I'll still need the odd pot of black lying around for when a spray is too much. Naturally everything will need varnishing.

I don't think there'll be any going back. Now I just need the fill in some of the colours I need (a more believable metal shade, more greens and browns), and get some more practice...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Studley moor 1643

Not quite the first game of the new year (had a couple of DBA games the week before), but the first outing for the camera equals the first blog entry of the new year.

15mm English Civil War. The rules used were a set of computer moderated rules capable of covering most periods of warfare with organised units (I'm afraid I cant recall the particular set, sorry folks). As such it mean't no dice throwing and a slightly divorced sense of control of ones' troops. The effect being pretty much to put you squarely in the shoes of the general; giving commands and hoping to see the results you desired.

One advantage of the computer moderation was that the reactions to combat and casualties were more varied than many rule sets allowed for, and that you never know for sure how badly any unit is faring, you had to use a degree of judgement to try and guess; though it seemed that three melees in a row was the limit for most units.

Anyhow, I pitched my Parliamentarians onto the field, for their first battle in some 6 years, I've been working on a Royalist force to face them for a few months now...

My deployment was entirely conventional with for regiments in front and two in reserve, guns on the hills and horse to the flanks. My opponent used the hill to his centre for an artillery laager whilst his foot and horse divided to each side of it.

My infantry proved aggressive, I ordered an advance and they went to assault orders against my will, they intended closing with the weaker Royalist foot. On the Flanks the Royalist horse made all efforts to charge.

On my left this resulted in our both losing a troop of horse and both having one on the enemy flank. I decided to go for the Royalist infantry, whilst my opponent decided to try to return and catch my horse; I think I made the right decision, I can't speak for his, but he couldn't catch me...

On the right I prepared for the worst, getting reserves into Hedgehog formation. However my Curassier armoured 'Lobsters' were able to fend off and destry successive attacks by the enemy. In the end they were eliminated as a fighting force but the right flank was safe for most of the battle thereafter.

On the left My horse hit unprepared foot in the flank, and scattered them; by now they were exhausted though I would soon choose to withdraw them, whilst the Infantry closed.

The Trained Band charged the Royalists, as the rest of my infantry closed. Some Royalist horse returned to threaten my right, But broke on my Hedgehog formation.

After two rounds of combat in the centre the trained band withdrew, having routed their opponents...

At the same time Southwarks' foot rolled up one battery from the hill in the centre; the King now looked dangerously exposed.

The centre carried on up the hill and captured the entire Royalist armoury; at this point the King 'bottled it' and was escorted away by his surviving horse.

Parliament took the field of battle for the glory of God and true government. The computer stats, showed both sides fairly even in terms of losses, with about 65% of our horse left, 90-95% of our infantry. The real difference was in the loss of all the Royalist guns, and the fact that Parliaments' infantry had attacked aggressively from the very start. Despite being diceless, I found I pretty darned enjoyable; and that's quite important!