Monday, May 28, 2012

NQSYW Skype Game

So, after much delay, here's a little gallery of pictures from the last NQSYW game, played by Ross and my sons by Skype...

Wachovian commander surveys the scene

Into action; the head of the Wachovian column seizes the bridge

Wachovians crossing the bridge

The North Polenburg commander, viewing the scene from a coign of vantage

Following the Wachovians, the Wiegenburg regiment joins the action

After a desperate resistance, North Polenburgers yield the village to the Wachovians

However, a sharp cavalry action has ensued on the left flank of the advance, with the Wachovian Hussars being roughly handled by the North Polenburg 32nd Dragoons

North Polenburg reinforcements stream over the bridge and form for action

Schoffen-Buschhagen Hussars have crossed the north bridge while the Wiegenburgers attack the south bridge

S-B infantry arrives, passing a few forlorn N-P prisoners and the rallying Wachovians

The S-Bs attack across the north bridge...

...but the opposition is ready.

After a change of equipment, the N-P commander grimaces at the developing scene

As night falls, a block of the von Nordhafen regiment of S-B infantry drives off a desperate attack by the 32nd N-P dragoons, to hold the bridge and seize a narrow victory.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Huzzah! AAR

Trip Report--Huzzah!, Portland, Maine, 3-6 May 2012 

The kids and I got organized on Thursday morning for our road trip to Huzzah! We haven't done an extended road trip since the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships last July...which may not sound like too long, but certainly feels like it. The car felt almost spacious, since we weren't hauling any of the terrain for the 40mm Rough Wooing games planned, just the figures. That left us with the room for a contingency game package, my case of 6mm DBA and Hordes of the Things armies. We arrived safely around 8:00 Thursday night, and settled in to discuss a few things with Ross. 

The convention proper didn't get started until Friday evening, with the first gaming block at 7:00. That left us with some time to invest. As Norman and Ross have noted, we started with a warm-up game of Basic Impetus. The hotel had the tables set out after breakfast, so finding a place to spread out the game was no problem. 

6mm Roman Cavalry

The battle unfolds; warbands  are surrounded?

William, Ross, and Norman all deep in thought

By the time we were finished, things were starting to look lively. We took a lunch break to go downtown and get my son a lobster for lunch, which he hadn't had before. I have, and not being a fan, I ate something less intimidating. The registration desk was set up by the time we got back, so we took care of the formalities. We were pleased to find that we could sign up for games for each time slot when we registered, being accustomed to the HMGS Cold Wars/Historicon system which only gives you one guaranteed entry per day. I chose to stretch a bit and try some games I don't usually play, but more of that in the proper order.

 We still had some time on our hands before the first official game, so we set up a final playtest of our Rough Wooing scenario for the convention. Norman posted a report as part of his convention coverage. As the French commander I found that the weight of the cavalry force on my right flank was enough to flatten the English, and my left flank distracted their center forces enough that my center was able to move forward and seize the gun. I had the opportunity to take the French side again during the third running on Saturday and found that it was not so easy to do again...

 For my official game in the evening, I signed up for something tricorne-ish, the battle of Chotusitz from the early part of the War of the Austrian Succession using the Carnage and Glory computer-moderated rules. I will be honest: As a player of Old School games like Charge!, I have not thought that something like Carnage and Glory would be to my taste as rules, but I wanted to give it a fair shot. The gamemaster was Richard Wallace, and he did a fine job of keeping the game moving, although, as I expected, the need for everyone to interact with the computer each turn through the single point of input/output was the limiting factor. He also had a beautiful table, done with fake fur to represent grass, and an amazing set of 28mm figures to populate it, so the game was a visual treat. Nevertheless, the computer moderation appears to be addressing problems that I don't usually have with Charge!, and I really miss rolling the dice. If, after all of the factors that the computer takes into account, you are left with the planning assumption that a unit is good for one fight with a similar unit, you're not much better off in realism than you are with Charge!, and you've added a cumbersome mechanism in the computer I/O.

Prussian cavalry charge during Chotusitz

 My Saturday morning game was a modern Afghanistan skirmish using the popular Force on Force rules from Osprey, also in 28mm. I'm not sure about the scenario balance for this one, but the rules seemed to crank along with reasonable speed, at least in the absence of vehicles and heavy support. A foot patrol of Americans, however, did not turn out to be nearly enough against four times their number of militant irregulars. The mechanisms, from what I could see, reminded me of Crossfire (in the movement, which, as explained, involved bounding from cover to cover with the enemy given the opportunity to interrupted with an uncommitted force) and what I can remember of Stargrunt (with a squad's fire generated a handful of dice of various shapes depending on weapons and training. I don't know how closely the GM was adhering to the written rules, though. It might be an interesting topic for a game-in-box, though, so I have ordered a discounted copy on speculation. I'd implement it in frugal 1/72 scale plastic, if I were to do it, though...
The village looks quiet enough...

 We had four players for the first Rough Wooing game, on Saturday afternoon. For whatever reason, the English were having trouble in making good use of their longbows, and the French won fairly handily. I was starting to wonder about the scenario balance, but changed my mind after the second game. Due to the shortage of players, Ross and I each took a role in the game, and the tables were firmly turned. I was making no headway at all with the French, and the game resulted in what looked like an easy English win. The moral of the story is that one would have to check a scenario multiple times to be assured of having the balance correct.
French right wing; gendarmes and lancers in profusion

French center advances; the gun is visible ahead

English and French swordsmen clash in the bog 

French center in some confusion, evening game

 As a result of playing so much Rough Wooing in a short time, and stressing the rules with the exceptional situations presented in a larger game, Ross and I have a 'to-do' on some rules clarifications. We also spent some time discussing games for next year, and where projects were going, which he's already covered on his blog. I went a little easy on the shopping (sorry, dealers!), but nevertheless came home with an Elven tower on discount for some fantasy skirmish gaming and a copy of Christopher Duffy's book on Frederick the Great's army for some inspirational reading as we run up to Historicon and my NQSYW games there.

Peking Legation scenery

Ross's Aroostock War game

Ross and Norman in 40mm American Revolution game

Boxer amphibious game

...and another

Norman trying some quinqereme action
 With the long drive home, we were unable to play in a Sunday morning game, but, overall, it was a great show, and I'd be pleased to be able to do it again next year. Perhaps a HAWKs roadtrip is in order...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Song of Blades and Heroes Skirmish, 21 April

As mentioned a while ago, we had the opportunity to pull out some old figures and try a game of Song of Blades and Heroes a few weeks ago.  The human defenders are mostly old Foundry Normans, with a Heritage wizard from the Knights and Magick Merlin set, and the orcs were mostly Prince August homecast figures, supplemented with a couple of old Ral Partha goblin wolfriders.  My mother did the ground cloth for me recently (along with one for Norman), with a quilting print green fabric on one side and a mottled desert tan on the other, so I'm set for small skirmish games for the present.

We found the rules to be fairly easy to use, but the conflation of morale and dexterity for one number and attack and defense ability for the other number seemed to lead to some odd results.  We'll probably try it again presently, but we're also thinking about writing a formal modification of our Medieval Mayhem home skirmish rules for fantasy situations.

An overview of the field, 3' by 3' cloth

Goblin wolfrider reaches the human defenders

The human mage looks vainly for an opportunity to try something

Last stand of the orcs

Monday, May 7, 2012

Project Danger

I'm working on my Huzzah report, but I'll note now that the usual discussions with Ross Macfarlane wound their way around to the question of projects and games for the next convention. Ross expressed a desire to work on a new French Revolution project, which suggests that I'm in some danger of dusting mine off for some expansion. This phote, from the archives, shows a Scarlet Pimpernel game in progress at an HMGS convention a few years ago, with some Austrian cuirassiers attempting to cross a bridge held by some dedicated French Garde National infantry. I kept that project farily compact, so thatI didn't run out of fun before I ran out of interest in painting each faction, so perhaps expansion would be practical.

Figures shown in the foreground here are all assembled from Nuernberger Meisterzinn 40mm multi-part castings.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Halfway to Halifax

Being unable to get together with Ross Macfarlane at an HMGS-East convention this year, we agreed to meet at Huzzah!, in Portland, Maine, which is somewhere near the midpoint between our respective residences.

Ross is peering here at some 6mm ancients pressed into an instructional game of Basic Impetus, a little open gaming before the start of the convention.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Try this with Wikipedia!

In anticipation of hauling my 40mm Renaissance troops on a road trip, I finally got around to adding some magnetic sheet to the bottoms of some "Really Useful Boxes" (9 liter). As you can see here, I've weighted the magnetic sheets down with volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica while the E6000 contact cement cures. It's a little sad to see these once-prized volumes valued more for their mass than their content...


My son managed to get his battle report posted, , before I even managed to download my pictures from my camera.

As a result, I'll still download some pictures later, but let his battle report stand as is.

From the referee's point of view, this wasn't a bad game, except for the contagious rout situation which developed among the Vikings. With experienced players, we'd all laugh it off as the wrath of the gods of the dice, but as an introduction to a couple of new people, I should probably have set the scenario up to be unbalanced in their favor by about 5:4 or even 4:3 rather than even up.

On the bright side, I painted these massed Dark Ages troops, about 400 of them, about twelve years ago, and I think this was the third time they actually made it to the table. A couple of years ago I rebased all of my skirmish-game-ready individuals onto smaller washers, so that both groups have the same figure frontages, making it possible to play something like WHAB with a mix of massed and single troops. I was also happy to find that I was pleased with the overall visual effect, so I think that answers a nagging question I've had about whether I should sell off some of these figures. Better to do more gaming with them, I think...