Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Napoleonic campaign - sieges and summer

So what did Bavaria do? It attacked the closest weaker enemy – in this case Austria. The boys in cornflower blue marched to Innsbruck and laid siege. The Austrians skulked insided the city walls and defied the Bavarians who lost a base in the process.

The French, also being rash attacked – this time Dresden. Another siege ensued but the Prussian army withdrew leaving the French with an easier nut to crack than the Bavarians but to no avail, as yet.

That concluded Spring 1801 and Great Britain makes the first move of the summer campaigning season by again doing nothing. The Prussians however are made of sterner stuff and attack Smolensk. The Russians, with four bases missing from their army as a consequence of losing their first battle with the Prussian, advance to meet them.

The Prussians fail to muster any allies but when the Russians request help two nations reply. The French send a small division of two brigades and a battery to their aid whilst perversely the Bavarians decide to help Prussia with two infantry brigades and a light horse regiment.

Terrain is chosen and the armies deployed.

The smaller Russo - France army move first and send a briagde of cossacks marauding down the flank followed at a more stately pace by cuirassiers. The rest advance on village and wood.


Bavarians line up with their Germanic neighbours. There is a general advance. Whilst the Bavarian chevauxlegers move to intercept the Russian cavalry

 ... and soundly beat the cuirassiers who must have been surprised as they charge from behind the wood.

Batteries fire with the only success to the Russians who rout a Prussian brigade in the centre. The Bavarians on the right push forward.

... their columns hitting the Russians. One Russian is destroyed but one Bavarian is routed too.

Prussian dragoons are thrown into the fray and a battery brought forward

The Prussian battery is lost to counter battery fire!

Still the Prussians press forward hoping for a breakthrough.

Which the Bavarians and dragoons achive. The Russo French lose their fourth base and the game before the rash Prussians attempt to breach the village. 

Another loss for the Russians and a base lost for their French allies.

 A brave showing by the Bavarians who won the day for their new friends. "Perhaps a united Germany would be a good idea eh chaps?"

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

DBA Campaign map

The DBA campaign system is a very simple way of giving games a little more interest. Using DBA as the wargame rules a campaign can be undertaken in an afternoon or evening. We have had some fun campaigns in Ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy. The city state type geography give the best feel for this simple campaign system.

The original DBA map is simply a stylised circle of provinces or nations. Shown below - a photo from first version of DBA.

Each player starts the game with three cities (or provinces) joined by transport routes (usually roads but may be sea routes). In the centre is another “independent” city which is often the place where fighting starts because at the end of the year reinforcements are based upon the number of cities held at the end of the year. Supply is automatic assuming that a players field army is next to a city he controls, otherwise there may be consequences of hunger, desertion and disease.

On a players turn he may invade another player’s city, moving up to two movement stages on a transport route. Alliances can and should be made and allies may provide contingents to aid in battle. All bases lost in battle, at sea or as the consequence of supply, from the original 12 base army, are placed in reserve.

Campaigning occurs during the three rounds of spring, summer and autumn; retiring into winter quarters on the fourth move. During winter a player may transfer a base from his reserve for each city held, not exceeding his original 12 base army strength.

I am keeping note of all moves and results on an excel spreadsheet but we have in the past used a stylised play board on which counters are moved to show where forces are at a given time.

My spreadsheet did not look very good when I tried to upload it here so below is a map of the cities I am using for the Napoleonic campaign. I was tempted to produce a more inspiring map with routes between Austria and France via Italy and adding Spain with routes to Britain but in the end I stuck to the original intention ie create an excuse to play games.   Poor old Dresden is in the middle and will no doubt be fought over a few times more.


(As a personal aside, my boy Jack has successfully passed out of basic training with the Royal Air Force. His mum and I are very proud of him.)

Monday, 24 February 2014

Austria stirs

Being led by an incompetent, as decided by the pre campaign dice, Austria has to attack. There is a choice of Bavaria, Dresden or Russia. The dice chooses and it's poor old Dresden that gets it again. And Prussia stand to fight. Neither side request reinforcements!

The armies meet. (I have divided the board into six rather than the usual DBA four to determine terrain so a little more than last time).

Austria moves first and doesn't hesitate in their advance, throwing two light infantry brigades out on their left. Prussia deploys between two villages and holds back their heavies in reserve.

The Austrian hussars get stuck in straight away but are routed.

.....away they go. It will need pips to stop them in these rules.

The Prussians take advantage of the gap left by the hussars rout and advance, some through the vineyeards (of Dresden?)

Austrian cuirassiers begin a flanking movement around the village. And the artillery continue their ineffective long range fire. 

The Prussian advance seems inexorable and Austrian foot retreats in haste before it.

The rallied hussars however rout the Prussian Uhlans leaving the Prussian flank exposed

Unfortunately Austrian command fails to roll good enough dice to take advantage and the bluecoats press on without mercy.

 Finally, on the other flank much manoeuvring has led to the clash of heavy cavalry, and the Austrians are pressed back, one brigade being routed

The Prussians go vorwarts and push the cuirassiers into the woods

On their right the Prussians have effectively broken the Austrians and the fourth unit is lost.

The Prussians win again, without loss, for a second time.

 Again they had good fortune both with their combat dice and with the Austrian inability to take advantage of the one situation where the Prussians may have pressed too far. The incompetent commanders pip handicap may have proved crucial again. Dresden remains in Prussian hands and two enemies have sadly depleted forces.

Now what will Bavaria do?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

The first coffee table campaign moves

The dice determined that Great Brtain would be given the honour of the first move in the coffee table "Napoleonic" campaign. 

Perfidious as ever they refused to do so. So, in a clockwise way, the next move fell to Prussia. Without hesitation the bluecoated army swooped and captured the central city of the campaign map - Dresden.

What would the incompetent Czar do in response. Without hesitation the Russkies are ordered to march to free the poor Saxons from the Prusian yoke. Battle it is to be.

A quick set up of dice determined terrain (looks a bit sparse) and the two armies face off across the table.

The Cossacks are quickly sent out to harry the flank and rear of the Prussians, and a general advance ensues with the heavy cavalry on the Russian right.

Soon the batteries open up

... and the heavy cavalry clash

The Prussian reliagn on the village and send the Uhlans back to deter the roaming cossacks

Taking advantage of the gap the Russians advane on a broad front

But lose the first unit

To the rear of the Prussian the Cossacks cannot avoid the charge of the Uhlans and are well beaten (in these rules they are scattered like hordes to reappear later)

Emboldened Prussians advance on their right flank to assault the village, but even at 2:1 are beaten back.

Excellent Prussian dice in the centre see off another Russian base

... and even better dice destroy a Russian battery

On the Prussian left the heavy cavalry battle that had gone back and forth sees the Prussian get their break through and the Russians lose their fourth base and the battle.

Dresden remains in Prussian hands and the Russians limp back in defeat. It seems a long way to winter when reinforcements can be called up. 

Not unexpectedly the incompetent Russian leader probably "chose" the wrong action by attacking an enemy so early in the campaign, failed to request for allies and and the -1 "pip" modifier was the final straw. It does make for a fairly interesting solo campaign however. (By the way the Prussians did ask for allies but were refused by all).

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Coffe table campaign - Programmed Leaders

The first iteration of DBA is now available for free here: http://www.wrg.me.uk/WRG.net/History/OLDWRG/DBA001.pdf

So if you’re the person who doesn’t know how the DBA campaign works or even what DBA is (almost 25 years old now) then it’s worth having a look at the little book.

The good old Fanaticus web site has lots of suggestions for DBA campaigns.

One particularly good idea is the Programmed Leader. An idea originally devised by P J Raper in Wargames Illustrated it is designed to automate the running of a nation or nations that do not have a player to manage them. I think I can run the campaign by automating all the conflicting nations.

A dice is thrown to determine the character of each nation’s leader. 1 Weak, 2 or 3 Incompetent, 4 or 5 Skilled, 6 Rash. The results of this determine map movement, invasions, withdrawls etc during the campaign based on dice throws and reaction tables. I’m not going to repeat those here as they are freely available on the Fanaticus site.

Before the dice determines the fate of nations I must note that I will rethrow for these at the start of each campaigning year to reflect changes in command, government or ruler and just in case I get six weak leaders.

The leaders for 1801 are:
France; rash
Great Britain; weak
Prussia; skilled
Russia; incompetent
Austria; incompetent
Bavaria; rash

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Coffee table campaign

It is a wargame truism that a campaign is always better than one off games. So I thought that I could have a quick coffee table campaign over the next few weeks before the financial year end grinds me down and steals my time. The intention was to use the Austrians and Prussians C18 but I quickly got bogged down in relatively complicated detail so that has gone out of the proverbial window. Perhaps for later.

So for a simple campaign on a small table thoughts naturally turned to the DBA system, particularly as there are a few hints on playing with programmed leaders on the Fanaticus web site. However as I don’t have half a dozen ancient armies it’s going to be Napoleonics. Starting with the six nation DBA map it’s going to be France, Russia, Austria, Prussia, Great Britain and, obviously, Bavaria.

The rules will be square based and vaguely DBesque.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

1/72 Metal

Continuing my withdrawal from the black hole of inertia I have continued to empty the half painted shelf.

These guys have been waiting for a coat of varnish and proper bases for a few months. They are metal 1/72 figures from Mr John Cunningham.

A generic 1740s figure they are an excellent match for the 1/72 Zvezdas I have used for the ImagiNation wars. For some reason I went for the Imperial Austrian look, can’t recall why, but one can’t have Emperor v Elector without some of the Emperor’s own. They have painted up okay and at 50p each haven’t broken the bank.

Being a clumsy oaf a couple of bayonets have already gone missing although they are no more fragile than any other metal figure. One can bounce 1/72 plastics off the wall and just lose a little paint!

There are quite a few interesting 1/72 metal figures out there, particularly in Euroland. (Does that mean I live in Poundland?).

These can supplement the interesting ranges of plastics from Zvezda, and more recently from Hat.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Back to the coffee table

I tend not venture the five yards to the wargames shed whilst is it cold and dark and last winter I played around with the coffee table wargames project. Due to various reasons, primarily laziness, I haven’t revisited this project this winter except in my head.

So back to it. One of the things I wasn’t overly happy with was the look of the grids on the painted surface so I’ve used half a peter pig table, measuring 36 inches by 30, which is a bit larger than before but still coffee table-ish. And the squares have been abandoned.

Inspired by C18th Sojourn I’ve retried the DBA extensions for horse and musket.

Setting up a random table I had a quick bash with 6mm Austrians and  Prussians. somewhere in Silesia 1745.

I soon remembered why I wasn’t 100% happy with these rules as units recoiled from long range artillery and lost their lines far too quickly.

The lack of squares also slowed the game down significantly. Whilst playing an opponent the time taken measuring is diluted with the banter and chatter but when playing solo it becomes a chore when time is of the essence.

My aim is a game in an hour (whilst the Duchess bathes or watches some interminable murder programme on the TV). I suspect some form of grid will return.

 They opposing forces line up, with flanks protected.

 Prussian cavalry front the vineyards and grenadiers hold the village

 Austrian massed cavalry

 meets the Prussian attack

 The Austrian line advances
 to meet the blue line

and is repulsed.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Paralysis by analysis

Too much reading blogs and too much contemplation has probably led to to the inertia that seems to have taken me over, or rather my wargaming hobby. There really is just too much to think about.

Which period, which figures, which are the best rules, how can they be improved, what shall I paint first, I just can't paint well enough, fast enough.......Aaaargh that lead pile is getting higher.

So the plan for now is to start with the half painted pile that as been clogging up the shelf over the painting table.

Starting with the most complete  - I went for the Samurai. (Easy wins first). Which were almost finished in 2010 - four years on the painting shelf. Too silly. Having also recently seen 47 Ronin a bit of nippon mojo came my way too.

As for rules I intend to go for the DBR R (or possibly HOTT if my daughter insists on witches and dragons)

Being 1/72, very nice Zezda figures, basing gave me a bit of an obstacle as 4cm frontage was too small and 6cm too big. Obvious - so they are based on 5cm frontages. Goodness me a decision.

So for your delectation and delight a Samuari DBRR (or HOTT) army. 

Cavalry next. And where can I get a 1/72 dragon?