Sunday, 30 December 2012

Square Lobositz

Der Alte Frtiz' excellent blog proved as entertaining as ever on 27 December when he presented us with Lobositz on the grand scale. I think most British wargamers only get to use such a large table at a club and few have such a wonderful collection of figures.

Lobositz itself is such an intriguing battle, if it hadn't actually been fought no doubt C S Grant would have made it up as a "wargames scenario".

Having a spare hour before lunch  I decided to have go at using a two foot table as opposed to DAF's fifteen footer. For speed I went back to the rules I originally though of a few weeks ago. For the OOB I used the original Volley and Bayonet ruleset.

Austrian troops set up in an excellent defensive position behind the Morellenbach and around Lobositz, whilst Croats swarm over the Lobosch (top right). The Prussians advance onto the Homolka and in the valley.

Move 1 - Austrian cavalry move forward to meet the advancing Prussians
Move 2 - the cavalry clash...
and the Austrians come out on top: routing two Prussian cuirassier brigades.

 The Prussians advance towards the croats on the Lobosch

Move 3 - The Austrian cavalry press on

whilst on the left the Austrian horse pull back out of artillery range and the Prussian horse advance

The white coats move right to reinforce Lobositz

Back in the centre the few remaining Prussian dragoons rally behind their infantry.

Move 4 - the Austrian cavalry rallies back in the face of advancing blue coats whilst the Lobosch is reinforced by Austrian foot.


Move 5 - the Prussians advance all along the line

 but come off worst against the Imperial forces behind stream and sunken road.

It becomes apparent that any further assault would be futile against such defensible terrain.

The Prussians fall back.
The Saxons are rescued.
Austria wins the war and Frederick is exiled to Massachusetts where, in 1775, he becomes the first president of the new country of USA - possibly.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


... and a Happy New Year

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I had quick run through Twilight of the Sun King with only a few units. It quickly got bogged down, as it often did in Marlburian battles and having only a few units on table was a bit dull. After a couple of dozen dice throws only a two or three “hits” were inflicted. I don’t think these rules are what I require for this type of game but I think we’ll try them out for large games over a few hours, which is of course what they were written for.

I also got out old favourite Volley and Bayonet (which has a grid variant on the helpful Volley and Bayonet site) and was having a good game but after an hour had only really just got started. Moreover the multi dice throwing and record keeping wasn’t they way I wanted to go either.

So it was back to the original rule thoughts but with a few embellishments. Some sort of attrition needs to be introduced and possibly reintroducing musketry fire. However I do want to keep single dice for combat resolution.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Sounds familiar

I spent quite a bit of my spare time thinking about the Portable Wargames Rules for the C18 and came up with what I thought was quite a nice set.

However when I read through them again they seemed quite familiar. Yep I had almost managed to rewrite Twilight of the Sun King. We had a look at these a while ago using the free set available on Steve's Balagan (but nothing came of it and we stuck with Volley and Bayonet). They must have remained in my subconscious.

The free set are still here:

There is however a more recent iteration available from The Pike and Shot Society. I ordered these for the princely sum of £3.45 (inc p&p). They arrived the next day - excellent service. 

At this price you don't get a Black Powder type book, more like the basic rule books of old. They are a grand tactical set of rules based on the brigade - 1cm =100 paces with combat resolution based on a simple morale test. With a couple of tweaks for the grid system they should make a quick game. 

And, if you like that sort of thing, there is an active Yahoo group.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

PWG AoE part trois

Had a quick go at the PWG C18 rules I mentioned last time. Starting at the beginning of Prof Duffy's maps I had a go at a version of Mollwitz, with various levels of success.

The first quandary was whether to add in some national characteristics. In the end I did as I thought it was the essence of Mollwitz and I made all Austrian cavalry elite and their infantry poor.

The armies were almost equal in  numbers of bases, Austrian 18 to Prussian 19. However the Austrians had eight cavalry brigades to the Prussians four, whilst the Prussians had the only battery.

I really need to create some suitable terrain!

Action started, as in the battle, with an Austrian cavalry charge and due to the national trait weighting their cuirassiers immediately routed a Prussian dragoon brigade.

The other dragoon base held it's own and all brigades fell back. The Prussian move had advanced the first line of foot and swung round the second to protect the flanks.

On the other flank the Austrian horse formed one long line outflanking the enemy.

The second rank of Austrian horse assault the infantry.

While the first rank follow up on the Prussian dragoons.

The second rank dragoons lose a unit to infantry fire whilst the brave dragoons live to fight another round.

On the Prussian left the Austrians charge in.

Again the infantry destroy the assaulting cavalry but both Prussian cavalry units are routed. An Austrian dragoon unit extricates from the melee and charges into the exposed flank of the Prussian foot.

Inexorably the Prussian foot advance into contact with the Austrian foot. The artillery has bounded forward with the infantry but have not been able to fire and move as they actually did. Now they have contacted the enemy they may fire in close combat ie cannister range. On the flank the cavalry fail to break the flank.

In a couple of moves the Prussian infantry over power the Austrians and the game is over as the Austrians fall to half strength.

It didn't take long to set up and from move one to the end it took about half an hour to play. Quicker than I wanted. I think I can add a little more than Okay/Disordered/Destroyed ie some sort of unit points strength to give a bit more "flavour" to stretch the game to an hour.

The "national characteristics" effectively made the result a foregone conclusion ie a refight of Mollwitz and I don't think I shall be that blatant again.

The artillery wasn't given a real test as there was only one battery. One point is that Prof Duffy describes the artillery as bounding forward with the Prussian infantry. These rules don't allow a battery to fire and move. What Duffy doesn't say is how effective the artillery was whilst it moved forward. If the effect was negligible then the rules are correct ie the guns may be firing but not effectively enough to merit a dice.Something to consider.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The Portable Wargame in the Age of Enlightenment

Aims – a quick, preferably one hour, game on a small(ish) board with an C18 feel to recreate the actual battles of Frederick the Great. So one base = one regiment of foot possible one brigade of horse.

Simplistic assumptions – infantry would probably stop frontal assaults by cavalry but if it didn’t it would be ridden down. Attacks on the flanks would be advantageous to the attacker. Artillery was not good enough to destroy enemy units beyond canister range but could disrupt enemy attacks and soften up the enemy as a prelude to attacking. Musketry was only decisive at very close ranges. Movement stately but not ponderous. Skirmishers had little influence on the result of most "large" battles in Europe.

Ideas – close combat will include musketry therefore no small arms fire phase. No use of rosters, removal of whole units when routed – therefore some use of markers. However a unit would have a marker or not, only as an indication of it’s order, not a build up of markers as attrition; to make it easier and quicker. Disordered units would be penalized in movement and combat but would be able to rally off their marker.

We have used some of these ideas in a number of iterations of our home spun rules in the last few years so it proved just a matter of paring these down. It's whether this distillation proves to be too simplistic.

So the first draft looks like:

1. Simultaneous Artillery Bombardment          Range: 5 squares.

i) All ranges are measured through the edges of the grid areas not the corners (see appendix).

ii) Roll one dice per battery firing hitting on 5 or 6. (targets in cover, artillery or skirmishers may try to save their hits).  Units hit are disordered, if a disordered unit is hit again it is routed.

iii) A disordered battery may not fire

iv) Batteries may not fire over other units or high terrain features unless on a higher contour.

v) Batteries may not fire at bases in the square directly to it’s front as this is Close Combat.
vi) A battery may not move if it has fired – mark it with smoke as a reminder.
vii) A battery may be counted in close combat if it has fired or moved.

2. Movement    (Either by initiative, leader, nation or in turn)
  Infantry            Artillery      Light Infantry       Cavalry       Light Horse                   
 3 squares               2                 4                      5                      6
i) All movement is measured through the edges of the grid areas not the corners ie no diagonal movement.
ii) A change of facing costs one square of movement but a unit may wheel forwards (not backwards).
    without it counting as a separate facing change. Light infantry may change face without penalty.
iii) A unit may not enter a square that an enemy is facing unless it intends to fight it.
iv) Cavalry may not contact an enemy unit that is in a terrain feature the cavalry could not enter.
v) Disordered units may not move
vi) Units in contact may not move.
vii) Only unit is allowed in a square, A unit must face one side of the square it cannot be diagonal

4 Rally: disordered units not in contact may rally away their disorder.

5. Close Combat (Player with initiative may choose order of CC)
A unit that faces, or is faced by, an enemy base in an adjacent square is in close combat.
Both sides each throw a D6 and adjust the score accordingly. Artillery contacted on a non firing side has no dice.
Support may be given by friends (not in contact with another enemy base) that are in a square facing the enemy square or are at the side of the base in contact facing the same way.  A unit that is contacted in the side is immediately disordered.
Amend the dice throw:       Per Supporting unit   +1        Disordered       -1            Defending cover             +1     Light troops            -1         Elite        +1        Undisordered infantry v mounted +1

Outcomes         Loser began CC Fresh                         Loser began CC Disordered
Drawn combats:                All mounted will withdraw otherwise remain in contact
Difference of 1 or 2                             
Artillery in contact                                       Routed                                      Routed
Infantry losing to Cavalry                              Routed                                      Routed
Others                                                  Withdraw Disordered                        Routed
Difference of  3 +                                       Routed                                      Routed                         

Winning cavalry may halt, advance one square or withdraw. Cavalry hitting another unit may close combat again but will must withdraw disordered, on conclusion, even it wins.
Winning infantry may only move forward to enter cover it has assaulted otherwise stays put. It may not fight again.

Terrain Moving through streams or fords in river costs two squares. A non skirmish unit will be disordered whilst in and on exiting the water.  Artillery may not cross streams nor enter closed terrain and if deployed in it initially may not move. Cavalry may not enter woods or villages other than by road and may not contact an enemy in such cover. Other woods may be deemed closed or open to regular infantry. Ordered infantry will be disordered on exiting woods.

Withdraw - means move one square directly back away from the threat – not diagonally.  A unit that cannot withdraw because there is an impassable terrain feature or the square is already occupied is removed.
Routed  - means removed from the board

Securing a flank. Infantry may secure a flank by placing a friend at right angles to a flank, facing away.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Portable continues

Most C18 wargamers must be aware of Mr Duffy's works on Frederick and his army etc. I have reread them a number of times and love the maps of the principle battles.

The original intention of my portable wargaming project was to base up my old 6mm SYW collection and refight all Mr Duffy's mapped battles on a board  24 inches by 30. Naturally it's taking longer than anticipated but I have made a start rebasing. 

A Monet - esque picture of half a Prussian army. ie out of focus.

A cavalry wing. 

Hopefully I can finish these off and add an Austrian army this week. Mollwitz here I come.

In the meantime I have had another go with Mr Cordery's Portable Colonial Rules.

The Whisky Mac Regt line up with an Egyptian unit in support and a couple of gardner guns - a dozen bases in all. 

Opposing them a couple of dozen fuzzy wuzzy bases, only six of which had firearms. No artillery on either side.

Essentially it was a simplified version of the first scenario in C S Grant's Scenarios for Wargamers. (Note: must make some squared terrain) 

The natives won the first initiative and cautiously advanced, bringing their few firearm bases into range. To little effect however. As might be expected the Imperial fire brought down a number of fuzzy wuzzies, due primarily to the large number of machine gun dice.  

Undeterred the natives charged in and hand to hand ensued. Although they managed to destroy one Highlander base again the natives came off worst. 

Against the Egyptian the natives won a few of the combats but the brave Egyptians fell back in order.

The third native force came to hit the Imperial force on the "hinge" hoping to take out one of the gardners but the firepower proved too deadly. and again the melee went the way of the Imperial force as the natives proved incapable of "saving" their poor combat throws. As they had suffered more than 50% losses the brave fuzzy wuzzy withdrew.

I thought a 2:1 ration might make this a fair fight but the Imperial fire power proved too telling on the advancing natives. 

I am pondering a couple of house rules. One being an ability to support in close combat, perhaps DBA style, and secondly perhaps some sort of "pin" when hit by firing rather than just pushed back.

All in all a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Portable mechanics

Having half an hour before dinner I lined up a few bases of Fuzzy wuzzy and a company of the Royal Worcester Pearmains to try out the new (and not very neatly squared) Portable Wargame board.

The initial bombardment from the screw gun was ineffective and the Hadendowah moved forward at the charge. A  volley of rifle fire brought a score or so down and a few more hesitated in their advance.

However most of the brave warriors charged into the thin khaki line and spears met bayonet point. The melee was short and sharp but the dice went the way of the Pearmains.

Losing over half of their strength in the desperate charge the Fuzzy Wuzzy broke and disappeared into the desert.

I think these could be fun. I'm sure I have a gunboat somewhere.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Portable Wargame Project

Castle Vallejo, aka my shed, had, as expected a few bits of suitable mdf.  One piece already had a piece of wargames mat already stuck on. A few strokes with a felt pen produced my first squared board.

This was, I think, half of a 5 foot by 3 foot (Peter Pig size board) so was 36 inches by 30 inches. This was a bigger than I had wanted. It certainly wouldn't fit on my lap whilst ensconced in the comfy chair. However it was fine on the coffee table.

I have drawn on 4 inch squares with a central dot in each square to accommodate the Napoleonic stuff I have based on 2" squares.  It will certainly be big enough for a corps v corps battle if one base equates to a regiment or brigade.

The shed also gave up a smaller board of 24 inches by 30 inches. Just bare mdf so I will give it a lick of paint or two at the weekend; green one side and desert the other.

I have some where a box of seven years war 6mm stuff, I haven't used for years, which I think I will base up on 4cm squares. The smaller board will give a 15 by 20 grid of 4cm squares plenty for a decent little "laptop" game.

 I may also have some colonial stuff too. Oh dear megalomania strikes again.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Winter plans

It's been a productive few months and I've started and completed the British Empire half of the  KISS Rommel project in about eight weeks. (As expected Richard completed his half too). We had our first game at the weekend and it was excellent. Seven of us played using rules none of us had played before and five hadn't even read. We fought a fun and tense game to it's conclusion in about three and a half hours. A minor British victory too.

I have been reading with great interest Mr Cordery's Portable Wargame project.

 My games at home are dependent upon the dining table, not the most practical solution when it also needs to be used for homework, sewing, drawing and even dining.

I have had a quick go at the portable wargame using a chess board and had a bit of fun with it but felt constrained. The idea is intriguing and no doubt the shed will offer up a larger piece of mdf I can draw a few more squares on.  A two foot square "table" would give 15 by 15 squares of 40mm. This would fit nicely on the coffee table in front of my comfy chair or even on my lap. This could keep me going through the long winter nights.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A few other things..

Only just noticed the time lag between the last two posts  - well over two months! 

Sadly nothing has happened in the Wine and Cheese campaign but I have been busy with other projects.

I have painted a division of 10mm Turks for the Crimea (I have no idea how I fell for that one). We had a cracking game on Sunday, but sadly no pictures. We used Black Powder but may try a Fire & Fury variant next time

Also I have furtled up a Nine Years War army that has been languishing in the attic for years.

A long time ago we bought quite a few painted Dixons from a bring and buy. I tried to touch up the poor old veterans but when I sprayed them with matt varnish I got the dreaded white powder finish. Probably due to atmospheric conditions. Into the attic they went. However when I was browsing TMP I came across a potential solution. Simple paint them with gloss varnish. And it only worked. 

I quite like the shiny look

I have based them up intending to use Baroque Impetus rules.

Finally I am working on a 6mm desert war British army c1941. I am not a great fan of WW2 due mostly to the complex nature of the rules, and lack of tricorns, but Richard has discovered KISS Rommel. A relatively old set resurrected by freewargamesrules. They look very simple and include a nice campaign system as well.

So that's what's on the bench in castle vallejo for October.

These Honeys will instil fear into the D.A.K., possibly.

Elblingberg - the conclusion

The Fusiliers de Brie pressed on but the fire from the defending Schereube Regiment was again devastating. It was all or nothing and the depleted fusiliers charged....

in vain. Closing fire disordered the fusiliers who retreated  in haste. 

In the centre the last throw of the dice for Fromagere and the Comte were ordered to advance and make the advantage in infantry numbers tell.  Georgia of Weinpfalz launched the reserve in the form of the Dragoner Blau. (as I had hoped to see how the rules worked).

Luck (?) deserted Weinpfalz and a third of the dragoons were laid low by closing fire and they would have the withdraw before making contact.

On the flank Weinpfalz also launched their yellow dragoons and broke the Schabzigers who  falling below half strength routed.

The Duke knew the game was up and the bluecoats were fortunate that nightfall would cover their retreat.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Elblingberg II

I had intended to play this game solo but once I began to put the table together my arch wargaming enemy, daughter Georgia, said that she would be pleased to beat me again. I was interested to see if she would pick up the revised rules, which I thought were simple but this would be a good test.

This was to be the first game in the mini campaign, based on a number of Charles Grants’ scenarios, number 40 Dominant Hill.

I want a fairly bare Old School type table for these games and when the crossroads were placed on the table it looked a bit crowded so I removed them and made the two hills and the village the objectives instead.

The scenario called for seven units each. The respective armies were:

Weinpfalz       Horse:             Gelb Dragoner, Blau Dragoner
                        Foot:               Muscat Regt (2 battalions)
                                                Riesling Fusilier (2 battalions)
                                                Scheurebe (1 battalion)
                        Artillery:         Grune Battery

Fromagere      Horse:             Schabziger Chevauxlegers
                        Foot:               Roquefort Regt (2 battalions)
                                                Fusiliers de Brie (2 battalions)
                                                Comte (2 battalions)
                        Artillery:         Alpha Battery

For simplicity I amended the rules to alternate moves; naturally Georgia won the toss and moved first. Without hesitation she divided her force. One brigade marched directly to Elbling town and the other to the small hill on the right. I asked why she had left a battalion and a battery apparently isolated in the centre. “I don’t know which side which side will need their help,” she replied.

Grrrrrrr wargamers using reserves – whatever next?

It became apparent that Fromagere moving second was at a distinct disadvantage. (note to change rules back to simultaneous movement). However the blue coats marched forward in fine style and the battery was deployed on the Elblingberg overlooking the town. And very ineffective it proved to be.  With Count Olaf and the Weinpflaz forces in possession of two objectives there was only one way – “Vorwarts”.

Firstly the Gelb Dragoner needed to be pushed back before the Fromagere infantry could move forward without their flank being threatened. The Schabziger Chevauxlegers were ordered to charge and without hesitation were off. I ought to have recalled Georgia’s dice throwing ability and the poor green coated horsemen lost six to the Gelb’s one casualty. The Schabzigers withdrew in haste but the Weinpfalzers were left having to rally too.

The Roquefort Regt moved forward but rather than charging the well defended town immediately decided on a musketry duel. The Comte 1st battalion were moved forward to support but couldn’t wheel to face the town without presenting their flank to the well placed Weinpfalz reserve.

On the Fromagere left the Fusiliers de Brie advanced towards the hill on a broad front of two battalions They too faced a cavalry regiment as well as a hill defended with the Riesling Fusiliers and two guns. “He who hesitates…” etc.

Count Olaf, with two objectives in hand, simply waited for the assault. The Muscat Regt in Elbling town took aim and delivered a devastating volley taking down eleven of the Roquefort heroes.

On the left the firing was not quite so effective but I had to take away three poor soldiers back to the box.

Round one to Weinpfalz