Sunday, 20 August 2017

All Greek To Me

Bit of a hectic time recently so no View this morning, I was on the M25, I made the right choice leaving early because instead of the five and a half hours which the journey down took, I got home in three hours forty-five.

This battle was actually fought last Thursday afternoon but I have not had a minute since then, Kevin turned up with his very own Greek City States army, always a great moment getting an army on to the battlefield for the first time. He had brought three large hoplite units, a large warband of Hill Tribes and a unit of Peltasts, to support these he had a small light cavalry command and three lots of skirmishers, one Cretan archers, experts in missile fire. I didn't want to go all heavy on his first outing so took a 'normal' Roman force from the Twelfth, a Praetorian cohort and two regular cohorts with my new Auxiliary cohort as a support along with some auxiliary cavalry, my light troops consisted of some archers, horse-archers and my Lanciarii. Oh, and I also brought along two bolt-shooters

I was a bit wary of the 'phalanx' rule which toughens up the hoplite units quite a bit so decided to hit his flanks while keeping the centre back until it was needed. This plan was helped somewhat in that I knew if I neutralised the Greek skirmishers then there was no threat to my cavalry and Kevin's lights would not stand up to them, on my right it was a different matter the very large warband held this flank along with the Cretan's. I met this threat with Cohors II and my bolt shooters while I aimed to take care of the archers with the Lanciarii.

The battle went as I expected, I quickly destroyed the Greek right and this gave Kevin pause with one of his hoplite units now that Roman cavalry could not be ignored, he had managed to sneak one hoplite unit forward and it began to advance on my Auxiliaries. I miscalculated the distance and the Greeks ploughed into my green unit, my boys fought well and stood for at least three turns before routing, I couldn't really ask any more of them. On my right the warband suffered from the bolt shooters as it hesitated on a nearby hill before charging the Lanciari, who escaped, and then slamming into Cohors II, I was confident about this fight and sure enough the Warband ran and were dispersed in short shrift, both Greek flanks were now in the air.

The Hill Tribes meet an unmoveable object (Cohors II)

A hoplite unit was sent to stop Cohors II so this left an opening for me in the centre, I had lost the Lanciarii but the Cretan's and another skirmish unit had gone, Kevin now depended on his Peltasts holding their ground but the weight of the Roman attack was against this. Cohors I defeated the Peltasts twice but they kept managing to flee and rally, but the eventual outcome was a foregone conclusion.
The crises point.

The Romans about to claim victory.

This left one bunch of hoplites against whom my cavalry and Praetorians advanced, Kevin turned into the cavalry but shortly after this Cohors II magnificently defeated their enemy and the Peltasts eventually dispersed. With only one success on the battlefield Kevin yielded his sword.

A good afternoon and a delight to see Kevin's army, I think I got off lucky and some hesitation in the centre caused by the danger to their flanks sort of threw the Greeks off a tad. Kevin has gone back to the drawing board and I will perhaps introduce some heavy cavalry next time.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Prussia '44

The family weekend was a success, the weather was not too promising but it came good for Saturday and especially Sunday, our sports day, which only went to prove if you are an old geezer like me you should not try to pretend you are a young gazelle.

Unsure of what was happening for club night I rang Simon and he said he would like to try out some ideas for Bolt Action, smaller forces and more realistic scenarios, so that was fine by me and only meant popping two boxes in the car.

As we pondered what we would do I mentioned an idea about having a bridge set for demolition, but the troops tasked with this had to await the last of their retreating friends before doing so. I got the idea that the game should also be an infantry only clash from a post on Tales from GHQ, Simon had already thought of that so we were in agreement. We decided that a small number of Pioneers supported by one squad and an MMG were in situ around the bridge, if possible the bridge would not be blown until the rest of the force, coming down the road, were across and safe. If something happened to the Pioneers and the infantry had to blow the bridge then they would need to make a die roll, not having the expertise of the Pioneers. The Russians could dismantle the explosives if they spent a full move on the bridge doing nothing else.

We established where the Russians would arrive and one squad had managed to sneak across the river so that the defenders were assaulted from both sides, the German MMG opened up on the first Russians to appear and knocked them back into the woods, a good start. This went south when the second Soviet squad opened up and took out the MMG, my main defence, on the west side of the river there was now only the small group of Pioneers left, my squad in the east had two more enemy squads coming at them so could not go to their aid.

Despite taking some losses the Pioneers nonetheless held the Russians off, but they weren't going to last, I thought of retreating them but it would be a dodgy move and would leave them exposed, however they failed their order test so they stayed put. The Russians on the east bank aggressively assaulted my squad in a nearby house, my brave boys fought them off, then the sound of truck engines could be heard as the remaining Germans arrived, it was looking bad for the Soviets. Within a short time the Russian forces on the east bank were eliminated, but on the west bank they had now destroyed the Pioneers and taken the house commanding the bridge. I moved towards the house but hesitated with my second squad, this gave Simon the opportunity to rush at the bridge. The game hung in the balance, I turned all my firepower on the men scrambling over the stonework, 20+ shots and only four kills, the Russians managed to tear up the Pioneers handy work and I lost the bridge.

A tense and exciting game considering the forces were both around 550-600 points on a small table with a scenario almost made up as we went along.

War and Conquest action tomorrow, Kevin will be bringing his Greek City States army for its first outing and I will get the Thunderbolts out, this will be a tough challenge for the Twelfth and my own skills, I must work on my pre-battle speech.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Glan Gathering

I am off to our annual meet up of the Anderson Clan tomorrow, I am closing the PO until Monday, I have warned my two regulars so I can leave with a clear conscience, I don't much care to be honest, I had four customers this morning and all they wanted was money, no letters, no parcels.

We will eat and drink, we will play old fashioned games, sing, argue and shed a tear for our departed parents while taking a walk down memory lane. I hope the weather is kind to us for the egg and spoon, three-legged race and that one where you stand in a sack amongst others.

There will be no View this week for those who enjoy my ranting.

So, have a good weekend because I certainly will.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Interesting Night

I took a lazy approach to last nights club night, I tend to do now and again as I work in the shop all day, drawing maps and then run about daft trying to sort everything out in half an hour. So I texted Andy and was told there was a Black Powder American War of Independence game on but Rob was not coming, I booked a couple of slots for Simon and I. When we turned up Rob was there and it was Stuart running a 'Land of the Free' game, not BP.

The game was a trial for the rules, published by Osprey, of course. It was probably a tad large for a first game but the troops looked nice, I especially liked Stuart's resplendent redcoats with their large yellow flags. I was not the British for a change in this game, I just happened to be sat where the 'enemy' was setting up, so I took two French 'groups', I was also given the job of CinC while harbouring thoughts of a poisoned chalice.

The game did not really get very far, new rules and one player had to leave half way through but there was enough action to get an overall feel of what the rules were aiming to achieve. Fast play for big battles I think is the idea, you get so many movement and combat actions to spend with each unit, once these are done you move on to the next one. If you time things correctly you can deliver a devastating blow to the enemy lines which the poor sods can do nothing about, so it is a brutal set of rules, the combat mechanics are very simple, perhaps too simple if you do not like your battles in broad strokes. We also have yet another initiative system, this time each side activates a group at a time until all the groups on both sides have had a turn, no big deal for me because everything gets a turn.

By the time we called a draw we were getting the hang of movement and firing, no doubt there is more to the rules, there has to be as the book is not the usual small Osprey offering but a large, hardback tome, complete with advanced rules and scenarios, it is also a decent price for these days. No, I won't be starting a new period.

I surprised Julian when he turned up and challenged him on his selling off of his Late Roman troops, the nucleus of an army, Julian is to wargaming what Del Boy is to Trotters Inc. He explained some complex wheeling and dealing which netted him a full cowboy town and the troops to start an Early Imperial Roman army with the cash he garnered from the sale, he can now sell some of his own cowboy town, no, I don't get it either.

Julian's trading acumen also benefitted Ryan who was spotted with a very large bag of Victrix Greek cavalry and a smaller one of archers. I am told the cavalry can be Macedonian, Successor or Greek, I have no idea of the differences but that must be an excellent selling point, I had a quick look inside the bag and the figures and horses especially looked excellent.

I wonder if metal figures will become a thing of the past, if plastic keeps targetting the main troop types i.e. hoplites, legionaries etc. will that mean the metal firms will not survive merely selling support troops while their core troops sit on the shelf made redundant by plastic. You cannot fault the excellence and price of most or all of the plastic figures, interesting times ahead. I wonder what the actual economics are for the manufacturers between metal and plastic.

Stuart, who ran the game last night, as well as buying everything connected with wargaming is the proud owner of a 3D printer. I noticed little white Y shapes on the table and wondered what they were for. As units got ready to move these little 45 degree thingys were popped on to the base, they show the angle clearly and immediately, what a superb idea with a myriad uses. Well done that man.