Friday, December 30, 2011

Song of Lace and Tricornes

Actually, Songs of Drums and Shakos. I used those rules from Ganesha Games for a quick little raid (quicker than I expected!). The rules are designed for Napoleonic skirmishes, but I figured at the skirmish level there wouldn't be enough difference between the earlier tricorne era and the Napoleonic era to worry about.

The situation was a corral of cattle being guarded by the Batrachians (using French stats of course), with the Soweiter forces on a foraging mission/raid. This takes place at dusk so visibility is limited. The scenario is taken from the rules. Here is the initial setup:
The Batrachian forces include Captain le Blanc, Sergeant Gaston and 6 line infantrymen inside the tent, 3 more infantry patrolling just inside the hedge (fence) around the tent, another pacing back and forth at the gate to that area, and 2 more standing at the gate to the stonewalled corral.

The Soweiter forces include Captain MacDonall of the Gunderland Highlanders and 6 Highlander infantry (using the Highlander stats, imagine that), and 1 light infantryman from Ballyfoole. Captain MacDonall sent the light infantryman to the south of the road to infiltrate through the woods and try to take out or at least distract the 2 sentries at the corral. Meanwhile the Captain and his squad of Highlanders approached through the woods north of the road to attack the main camp of Batrachians.

In these rules you roll dice to activate figures, leaders like the Captains, can order a group if the leader makes his activation roll. You can choose to roll 1, 2, or 3 dice and 2 failures on a roll of the dice means the action switches over to the other side. This scenario had some special rules that certainly affected the final outcome of this game.

As it turned out the Batrachians moved first, but under the scenario rules that only meant the sentries moving, circling the tent or pacing in front of the gate. Next, Captain MacDonall ordered the Highlanders to move up to the edge of the woods, and the light infantryman also moved through the woods to the south and up to the lone tree. About as close as he could get to the sentries by the corral without being seen.
The sentries continue pacing back and forth and around. Suddenly shots ring out all around! The Highlanders kill one of the 2 sentries closest to them, while the other sentry falls to the ground (diving for cover no doubt).

The light infantryman is still getting set up (failed his activation roll so play passes to the Batrachians).
The Batrachian officer, Captain le Blanc, reacts to the gunfire and tries to rouse his men, but they are slow to act (they failed their activation roll).
The Highlanders reload their muskets. Meanwhile, the light infantryman takes an aimed shot at the closer of the 2 sentries at the corral gate. The sentry dives for cover.
Captain le Blanc and Sergeant Gaston come out of the tent, but the rest of the men fail to followup (failed roll).
Captain MacDonall orders his men to fire a volley at the Batrachian officers, killing Captain le Blanc. Sergeant Gaston's nerves fail him (fails his morale throw) and the Batrachians surrender. The Soweiter forces will have some beef to drive back to their unit tonight.

Like I said, this game played very quickly, due to the scenario rules that specified if the defender's leader was killed and the NCO failed his morale roll it was all over. The other possibility would have been the NCO passed his morale roll, at which point he would be considered the leader with attendant abilities and bonuses to the troops. Then each of the defenders would have to roll for morale. The NCO could've then called on any of the infantry who passed their morale, and would have stood a decent chance against the Highlanders, I think. Sometimes things just go well for one side or badly for the other.
In spite of that, the Song of ... seem like a good fun set of rules for small skirmish and man to man (or other creatures) actions. I bought the "bundle" quite a while ago, including mostly the fantasy stuff, but this was the first time I got around to trying any of them. I think they will be good for "quickies", especially if I play enough to get the rules "down".

Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Battle of Hill Valley (or, a Pithy Tale)

As I mentioned in my previous post this is a battle on the North-by-Northwest Frontier I played out with the Pith Helmet rules. One interesting thing about these rules, especially for a solo player, is the reaction system where units react to being fired on, having enemy units approach within a certain distance, or upon being charged. Sometimes these reactions can work to your favor, Other times they can get in the way of your plans. Also, casualties are not necessarily gone. I highly recommend reading the reports on the Kelroy Was Here blog and also downloading the rules and the accompanying files which include a battle report by the rules author.

The situation I laid out was a patrol comprised of the Grand Thidwick 1st and 2nd regiments, a unit of Gunderland Highlanders, all with 6 figures including 1 leader and 1 NCO, and using the British stats in the rules. Along with them were a unit of Djahli natives, 'the Mongoose regiment", using the Punjabi stats. They were up against a number of hill tribesmen using the Pathan stats.

I set up some terrain on my table (40 inches square), and placed a die at each terrain element to represent potential forces. When the force was encountered by the patrol, which I decided would mean getting within the range that would cause a reaction test, or If it looked like it was a good time to activate any unit, I would roll 1d6 and place one of the units (randomly determined from several possible units I had set aside) on the table. In the meantime they would still get Action Points as described in the rules and could act if need be.

Here is the valley as the first two units of the patrol, Grand Thidwick 1 and the Mongooses approach along a dirt road.

Turn 1.
As they approach both the patrol and the Pathans react hastily to events (1 unit on each side can use 1 action point - the die next to each unit shows the number of action points they have. I turned the die to 6 when the unit was out of action points - in future games I might try some other sort of markers that don't look so out of place). Luckily for the patrol there were no tribesmen in the first set of hills to their right, but there was a group in the woods and rocks to the left. 6 figures, half with rifles and half with swords and shields. These came charging out towards the column.
The charging tribesmen move in closer and fire at the Grand Thidwick unit, but no one is hit. The Grand Thidwick unit reacts by changing formation into line to face the tribesmen. They then fire off a volley at the tribesmen, inflicting no casualties but still cause them to become shaken. Meanwhile the Mongooses move up and I bring on Grand Thidwick 2.
At this point I decided to bring out all of the native units as that would allow many of them to start participating in the battle. So a unit of 6 rifles and 2 sword and shields armed tribesmen run down off the little outcropping with a lone pine tree and head towards the column. 4 cavalry, half with rifles and half with sword and shield, emerge from the rocks and trees just past the little outcropping. They ride fast towards the column (I moved them 2 moves). On the far hills on the upper left 6 natives with rifles, 1 with a pistol, and 2 with sword and shield pop up, but hold their position for now. And yet another group, with 5 rifles and 1 spear appear in the woods to the upper right. These also hold their position. That's the lot.The Mongooses and Grand Thidwick 2 fire at the first group of natives, inflicting 3 casualties, including the "NCO". The natives' reaction is to hold their ground.

Next, Grand Thidwick 1 also fires at the first group of natives, inflicting 2 more casualties. The Highlanders are brought on board.
2 of the natives are dead, 3 more return to the unit.

Turn 2.
The native cavalry fire at Grand Thidwick1, scoring 1 hit. Grand Thidwick 1 reacts by changing formation to face the cavalry. The native cavalry fire again, scoring 2 hits including the NCO. Grand Thidwick reacts by firing back but score no hits. The Mongooses fire at the second native infantry group as it approaches and score a hit. The natives retreat 6 inches and are shaken. The Mongooses then move up to support Grand Thidwick 1 and fire at the native cavalry, scoring no hits. The cavalry fire back, also missing.

The Highlanders move up, change into line formation and fire at the first group of natives, scoring 1 hit. The natives hold.
Grand Thidwick 2 fire at the first group of natives, scoring 2 hits including the "NCO". The natives fall back 4 inches. Grand Thidwick 2 move forward and fire at the natives again, scoring 1 more hit. All of the natives from this first group are now out of commission (in the "Rally Zone").
The Mongooses fire at the native cavalry again, scoring another hit, this time on the unit's "NCO". The cavalry retreat 4.5 inches and are shaken.
The native group in the far hill, seeing many of their brethren in trouble, decide to move down off the hill and run towards the fighting (4 moves, bringing them close to the fighting very quickly). The Highlanders and Mongooses move up in line to support Grand Thidwick 1.

Now we see what happens to the various casualties. The leader and "NCO" from the first group of natives die and the 2 remaining troops rout. The one casualty from the second group of natives dies. The casualty from the native cavalry returns to his unit. All of the casualties from Grand Thidwick 1 return. The few remaining figures in the first group of natives rally. The second group of natives and the native cavalry also rally.

Turn 3.
The native cavalry move farther down the road and the second group of natives also move in closer. The Mongooses fire at the cavalry, scoring 2 hits, but this only seems to infuriate the cavalry who react by advancing towards the Mongooses. Grand Thidwick 1 also fires at the cavalry, scoring another hit, but the cavalry hold. Grand Thidwick 1 then fires at the second group of natives, scoring 2 hits. The natives hold. The Highlanders fire at the second group of natives also and score another hit. The natives still hold. Then Grand Thidwick 1 fires at the natives yet again, scoring one more hit. The second group of natives moves forward and fires at Grand Thidwick 1, but they seem to be a bit rattled and score no hits. Grand Thidwick hold. The third group of natives, from the hills, quickly move in and fire at Grand Thidwick 1, but also score no hits. Grand Thidwick 1 fires at the third group of natives and scores 1 hit.
The Mongooses fire at the cavalry, scoring 1 hit, which puts them all out of commission (in the "Rally Zone). Then a couple of rounds of firing by the Highlanders and the third group of natives has no effect.
Grand Thidwick 2 fires at the second group of natives, scoring 1 hit, and the natives are now shaken.
At this point all of the native units had used up their Action Points, but the Soweiter forces had points left to use, so I just let them act. This involved a flurry of volleys all along the line, resulting in casualties in all of the remaining native units and all of them becoming shaken (except for the 1 unit still in the woods farther up the road)
Settling up the score, sees the casualties in the first group of natives recover, 4 dead in the second group and 2 returns, 1 dead in the third group, 1 cavalry captured and 1 joining in with the third group of natives and 2 more routing up the valley.

Turn 4.
The Mongooses fire at the third group of natives, scoring 1 hit. The natives become shaken and run away. The second group of natives decide to head the the rocky area below the far hills. Meanwhile the natives in the woods decide to join the fighting, so they move down the road, firing twice at the Mongooses, but scoring no hits and the Mongooses hold their ground. Then the Mongooses return fire at these natives, scoring 2 hits. Grand Thidwick also fire at the same group of natives, scoring 2 more hits. The natives return fire, scoring 1 hit on Grand Thidwick 1.

At this point I decided to "call the game". The natives are pretty chewed up, while the Soweiter forces are doing quite well. It doesn't seem likely that the natives can prevail.

This was a fun game, although I may have to give the natives more forces next time! As it happens the recovery phase seems to favor more non-native forces returning to battle, so the natives tend to get whittled down. Or maybe the Colonial forces got lucky this time. Over all, with note-taking and picture-taking (which I forgot to do at points in the "heat of the action"), I played this out over the course of 3.5 to 4 hours in 2 evenings. I confess the format of the rules was a bit off-putting for me, so I reformatted them to better fit my taste (and my eyes, which means a larger font size!), which resulted in 6 pages including the various tables. Still, it's a very concise set of rules, with some interesting mechanisms that make for a somewhat unpredictable game, especially the reactions to events and the casualty recovery and the Action Points and activation systems, great for solo play. And it seemed to work well on my small table and few figures with only minimal adjustments (really all I did was halve all distances, but not casualties or anything else).

Reports Coming in from the North-by-Northwest Frontier

I'm playing a little battle between Soweiter League forces (or the Anglophone portion thereof) and some wild hill tribes of Ollistan. I'm using the Pith Helmet rules as described and reported by Kelroy Was Here . Look for his posts with the "Pith Helmet II" tag. The rest of his posts are worth perusing as well. The rules are also available for free download as Kelroy notes (read his posts to find the link). The downloads include a report of a game played by the rules author. These reports are very helpful in understanding the rules.
I'll post report(s) and pics when I finish the battle. Because I have few figures and a smaller table I am playing with a couple of modifications, well, one really. I'm only using around 6-8 figures per unit (6 for the European side and 4 (cavalry) or 6-8 (infantry) for the natives.) The only rules mod I'm making is to halve all distances. I've played 2 turns so far. Each turn can have multiple phases until units use up their Action Points or decide to pass, so a lot more has happened so far than "2 turns" might make it seem. It's also been a lot of fun. I could see using these rules more (and probably adding some of the author's additions and maybe one or two of my own. I was thinking, for example, that you could leave the jokers in the card deck used for various things in the game and if you draw a joker have some random event happen.). It's possible (probable?) I have made mistakes in the way I am playing, but it still seems to work and as a solo player my opponent/gaming partner has no objections.
(one example of a possible error on my part - if a unit has the action points and the card draw allows it I have moved or fired more than once at a time. So far it hasn't seemed unbalanced.)

Happy Holidays to all! May you have time for toys and hobbies during the holidays and throughout the coming year!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Return of the Ballyfoole Expedition

The Illustrated Ballyfoole Gazette
"Where we never let the facts get in the way of a good story"
Second Expedition Explores the Interior of Afrodesia

Yet again those intrepid Ballyfoole Explorers set off into the wilds of Afrodesia. Lead, as always, by Captain Flynn, with O'Ryan the hunter and Maggie O'Hara, and joined by their new scout, McGonigle, who replaces McGillicuddy who perished during the last exploration. The balance of the expedition included two soldiers of the Gunderland Highlanders, four loyal askaris and 12 bearers. Their starting point this time is an area of savanna they explored during previous outings.

Day 1 they head off into the savanna. Except for some ancient ruins where they find loads of loot the area is deserted. (since they are just starting out they have no empty bearers, so I'm not sure if the others can carry the loot or if it has to be left where it is)

Day 2 they march farther into the savanna. During the march a rockslide nearly takes out one of the askaris, but quick action saves him. Still no natives are encountered

Day 3 they continue to march into the savanna and discover a new plant species - a large poisonous yellow savanna rose. They also encounter some natives. The expedition gives the natives some trade goods. The natives are friendly.

Day 4 they march eastward into more savanna, where they encounter a survivor from some lost expedition. Just a lone empty bearer. (this was an even I added to the mix; rolled on the same chart used to find who succumbs to events to find out who it was the expedition found. This individual will only stay with the expedition until they return home. So, even if it turned out to be an explorer he would not stay with the expedition for future journeys.) No natives encountered.

Day 5 they march south into more savanna and discover another new plant species - a large poisonous herb (maybe hyenasbane?). They come across a river and meet up with some natives. After offering them some trade goods the natives appear friendly and the expedition buys a couple of days worth of food with some of their remaining money.

Day 6 they march east, losing sight of the river. Later 2 of the bearers succumb to bad water, 1 trade bearer and 1 food bearer. They encounter more friendly natives and buy 2 loads of trade goods from them.

Day 7 They march south into more savanna, but suddenly they are ambushed by natives. 3 natives with rifles fire from a stand of trees on one side, while 4 more natives armed with swords and other hand weapons charge from the other side, but no casualties are inflicted. 
The expedition returns fire, killing 1 rifle armed native and 1 native armed with a hand weapon. All of this commotion stirs up a lion who springs forth and attacks a bearer, but the bearer fights back.

The natives fire again and miss again, the natives armed with hand weapons charge hit, but cause no hits, and the lion continues to struggle with the feisty bearer.
The expedition fires at the rifle armed natives, killing both of them. While one of the Highlanders dispatches one of the hand weapon natives. The struggle between the lion and the bearer is still inconclusive.
At this point the remaining natives flee (and, as that ends the encounter, I also figured the lion gave up on the bearer, maybe to chase after one of the fleeing natives.)

Day 8 they start to march, but the day proves to be filled with oppressive heat. So they decide to recuperate from yesterday's ambush and try to relax in what shade they can find.

Day 9 lost

Day 10 they march on and into desert; sometime during the day the last man in the expedition, an askari, disappears. Later they encounter some natives, the expedition give them some trade goods, and the natives are friendly.

Day 11 they continue to march through the desert and discover a lake. No natives are encountered.

Day 12 the march back to their starting point.

Another successful bit of exploration, if fairly uneventful this time, helped by bringing along trade goods to pacify and placate the natives they encountered. It just goes to show that although, in Afrodesia (or Jimland), anything can happen, sometimes it doesn't.

This was the second game I played in honor of Solo Wargaming Day back on 11/11/11.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Solo Wargame day/month

I managed to play one game on 11/11/11 and another game over that weekend. The first game was another battle using Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame rules. I tried using the rules without a grid, measuring instead with the edge of a card 2 1/2 inches in length for each grid space. This seemed to work pretty well for my small table. I don't think it slowed down the game much either.

The battle lasted 13 turns, with both sides down to just a couple of units remaining. I call this the Battle of Ockham. It was based on scenario 40, Dominant Hill, from Grant's Scenarios for Wargames. If I did this game again I would take some artillery from the list of possible units. As it was I only took cavalry and infantry. Artillery really are a must if one is going to have to assault buildings with the Portable Wargame rules. With the rules to roll for combat effect this game saw units sticking around longer than in my previous games, but didn't make the game last all that much longer. I expect total playing time was still well under 2 hours (hard to judge, what with stopping to take notes and pictures and breaking to do other stuff).

Here are a few pictures from the battle as it progressed:
In the end both sides were too depleted to accomplish their objectives so it was a draw.

The other game I played that weekend was another Ballyfoole expedition into Afrodesia, using the  Adventures in Jimland rules. I'll write that up in another post when I have time and energy to do so.

The important thing is I had fun playing a couple of different games solo. I hope to do a bit more gaming with the long holiday weekend coming up next week here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

still alive and gaming

First I got busy with "real life", and then I got into playing one of my birthday presents (from me to me), The Lord of the Rings "living" card game from Fantasy Flight Games. It's a fun game, but tough to win (so far, and I've only tried the easiest scenario!). It can be played solo or as a cooperative game for 2 players. Haven't done anything with miniatures since my last post, but I do have stuff on the painting desk. With greater likelihood of cooler weather I expect I will get back into painting more stuff soon.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Battle of Hugelstrasse

3 games in 3 weeks! Unheard of! I played a third game using Bob Cordery’s Portable Wargame rules. The scenario is number 50 from Grant’s Scenarios for Wargames, featuring an interesting collection of troops. One side is all cavalry and the other has very little cavalry.

The Batrachians, once again on the attack, with an all-cavalry force under the command of General Élan
The Cuirassiers Royale 1 and 2
The Wild Goose Chasseurs 1, 2, and 3
The Poupon Dragoons 1 and 2
The Chevaliers de Maurice (a unit of gentlemen volunteers who wear whatever suits them, no standard uniform - ok, I needed an 8th cavalry unit so I pulled some assorted extras)

The Soweiter forces, commanded by General von Blunder, marching down the road from northeast to west in this order:
The Ballyfoole Hussars
The Muttonshire Musketeers
The Woostershire Muskets
The Soforth Highlanders
The Mayeux Musketeers
The Glossopshire Croats
The Jaegers zu Pfeffernusse
2 cannons of the Ballyfoole Artillery
The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps

A cloud of dust is spotted to the northwest. It’s Batrachian cavalry! Hordes of them! The only chance for the Soweiter forces is to head for the hills to the south of the road.

Turn 1, The race is on

Turn 2 The Batrachians gain the initiative and begin to catch up with some of the rearmost Soweiter forces. The Wild Goose Chasseurs 2 charge the Malarkey Musketeers and destroy them. The Wild Goose Chasseurs 3 charge the Ballyfoole Artillery 1 and both units are destroyed! The Wild Goose Chasseurs 1 charge the Glossopshire Croats and destroy them. The Poupon Dragoons 1 charge the Mayeux Musketeers and both units are destroyed. The Poupon Dragoons 2 charge the Nuttonshire Musketeers and both units are destroyed. Most of the remaining Soweiter forces reach the hills, except for the Jaegers zu Pfeffernusse, who have taken cover in a small woods near the road. The Jaegers fire out of the woods and destroy the Wild Goose Chasseurs 1. A rather “bloody” affair for all.

Turn 3 The Soweiter forces gain the initiative. The second Ballyfoole Artillery unit moves further along the hill. The Jaegers fire at the Cuirassiers Royale 2 and destroy them. And the rest of the Soweiter forces position themselves on the hills and prepare for the onslaught. The Batrachian Cavalry closes in.

Turn 4 The Soweiter forces still have the initiative and take the opportunity to fire, but to little effect this time.
The Wild Goose Chasseurs 2 charge and destroy the Ballyfoole Artillery. The Chevaliers de Maurice charge the Woostershire Muskets, but it’s an uphill battle and the Chevaliers are destroyed. The Cuirassiers Royale 1 charge the Soforth Highlanders and fight to a standstill.

Turn 5 The Batrachians gain the upper hand again. The Wild Goose Chasseurs 2 swing back west down the hill and charge the Jaegers zu Pfeffernusse, who had left the protection of the woods. But the Jaegers fight back gamely and it’s the Wild Goose Chasseurs whose goose is cooked. The Cuirassiers Royale 1 continue their melee with the Soforth Highlanders and destroy the doughty Highlanders. The Cuirassiers are then subjected to a hail of gunfire from the Jaegers, to little effect, and then the Woosetershire Muskets, who finally destroy the Cuirassiers.

At that the Batrachian forces are wiped out, but since they managed to destroy well over half of the Soweiter forces the Batrachians win the day. A Pyrhhic victory?

Another fast and furious Portable Wargame battle. With 3 battles under my belt I was thinking of trying some modifications next, but I see Bob has posted a new version of the rules so I‘ll likely give those a go. In recent comments here Ross Mac mentioned using straight line measurements in place of the grid. I may try that. Grids have the advantage that no measuring is required, and also make it clearer who is facing who, with no fiddling about overlaps and such. On the other hand I do like a clean battlefield without lines or marks to designate spaces so I may just give it a go to see how I like using the rules gridless.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Battle of Bruckwasser

note: the previous game I reported on where I used Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame 2 rules, the battle of Zweipfennig took 5 turns to play. The battle of Bruckwasser took 9 turns, still quick.

Scenario #6, Crossing Point, from Grant’s Programmed Wargames Scenarios

Batrachian forces, under General Soleau:
The Cuirassiers Royale
The Poupon Dragoons
The Wild Goose Chasseurs
The Garde n’est Pas
The King’s Musketeers
The Queen’s Musketeers
The Pandours du Pinque
The Pandours San Serif
The Musketeers L’Ouef
2 cannons

Soweiter forces, under General Cummerbund:
The Jingleheimer-Schwartz Cavalry
The Ballyfoole Dragoons
The Ballyfoole Hussars
The Muttonshire Musketeers
The Woostershire Muskets
The Soforth Highlanders
The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps
1 cannon

The Bruckwasser River runs east to west. Two stone bridges cross the river and the village of Bruckwasser lies on the south bank of the river between the 2 bridges. The Batrachian forces are looking to capture the bridges so they can strike deeper into Soweiter territory. The Soweiter League has a couple of units, the Malarkey Musketeers and the Soforth Highlanders, stationed in the town to guard the bridges. Other forces are stationed in nearby villages and other posts.

General Soleau, commanding the Batrachian forces, hopes to capture the bridges before the Soweiter reinforcements can shore up their defense. The battle starts out with the Batrachian forces coming from the west along a road that roughly follows the north bank of the river. The column is led by the Poupon Dragoons, followed by the Wild Goose Chasseurs, The Garde N’est Pas, the King’s Musketeers, and so on.

Riding quickly the Poupon Dragoons reach the west bridge, but are destroyed by a hail of fire from the Malarkey Musketeers in the western part of the village.

The Wild Goose Chasseurs swing around to the east bridge and are met by volleys from the Soforth Highlanders in the east part of the village, but little damage is sustained. The Garde N’est Pas reach the west bridge and also survive the volleys from the Malarkey Musketeers.

The Wild Goose Chasseurs gallop over the bridge to meet any potential Soweiter reinforcements that may arrive along the southeast road. The Garde N’est Pas cross over the bridge and fire at the Malarkey Musketeers in the village to little effect. 

(Camera batteries ran down so I didn't get photos for the middle of the battle)

The Malarkey Musketeers return fire and destroy the Garde N’est Pas. The Jingleheimer-Schwartz Cavalry arrive on the southeast road and the Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps arrive on the west road, south of the river.

The Jingleheimer-Schwartz Cavalry charge the Wild Goose Chasseurs and destroy them. The Malarkey Musketeers fire at the King’s Musketeers on the bridge to little effect. The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps advance towards the west bridge. The Ballyfoole Hussars arrive on the west road, the Muttonshire Musketeers on the south road and the Ballyfoole Dragoons on the southeast road. The King’s Musketeers fire at the Malarkey Musketeers but cause few casualties if any.

The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps fire at the King’s Musketeers on the west bridge and cause little damage. The Malarkey Musketeers also fire at the King’s Musketeers and destroy them. The Soforth Highlanders fire at the Queen’s Musketeers who have moved on to the east bridge. The withering fire destroys the Queen’s Musketeers. The Batrachian artillery having taken up position on the north bank of the river opposite the village open fire on the troops in the village. The Highlanders survive, but the Malarkey Musketeers finally succumb to the onslaught.

The Batrachian artillery fires again at the Highlanders, this time destroying them. The Pandours San Serif and the Musketeers L’Ouef reach the west bridge and start crossing over. The Pandours du Pinque reach the east bridge, with the Cuirassiers Royale close behind. The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps fire at the Pandours San Serif and destroy them. The Malarkey Dragoons charge the Pandours du Pinque on the east bridge, but the tables are turned and it’s the Dragoons who succumb. The Muttonshire Musketeers occupy the village.

The Muttonshire Musketeers fire at the Musketeers L’Ouef, as do the Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps, but neither achieves much success. The Jingleheimer-Schwartz Cavalry charge the Pandours du Pinque and destroy them. The Batrachian cannons fire at the Muttonshire Musketeers to little effect. The Musketeers L’Ouef charge the Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps and are destroyed. The Cuirassiers Royale charge the Jingleheimer-Schwartz Cavalry and destroy them.

The Muttonshire Musketeers fire at the Cuirassiers Royale and destroy them.

At this point the only units left to the Batrachians are the cannons north of the river. So with no hope fo capturing and holding the bridges they beat a hasty retreat.

The Woostershire Muskets and the Soweiter cannon arrive, on the west road and southeast road respectively, but by this time the battle is over.

As before these rules played very quickly. Firing and combat are "bloody", in the sense that units can get destroyed quickly. That's not all bad and in fact is one of the reasons the games are quick. Not having to fiddle around with movement or search through pages of rules or follow complicated turn sequences help, too.
There were times where a combat could have gone either way or even where the odds favored one side, but I seemed to roll ones at just the wrong times for some of the cavalry. Positioning the Batrachian cannon on the north side of the river to fire across at the village worked well, even though according to the orders I rolled for the scenario maybe they should've headed for the bridges like the rest of the units. The Programmed Scenarios offer programmed options for both sides, as well as allow the player to play one or both sides. Often there are restrictions, special circumstances, etc, that will limit what you can do. There are also various things you roll for, from the maps to set up options to orders to reactions in some cases. This means each time you play a scenario it can vary quite a bit.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Battle of Zweipfennig

I used Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame 2 rules for this game. That's the version that fits on a single sheet of paper. I don't know if I did things right, but it seemed like the defenders had a decided advantage. It took about an hour to set up and play this, leisurely, taking notes and pictures (although I forgot to take pictures a few times because it moved so quickly), consulting the scenario book and rules sheet, etc.

The scenario is # 37, Night Attack 2 from Scenarios For All Ages by Grant and Asquith.

A force comprised of units from the Soweiter League had occupied two villages and the ridge connecting the two, expecting to meet an attack by a more sizable Batrachian force in the area.

Soweiter League force:
General Jacques Pfennig-Pfarthing
The Ballyfoole Dragoons
The Ballyfoole Hussars
line infantry:
The Muttonshire Musketeers
The Woostershire Muskets
The Soforth Highlanders
The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps
1 cannon

Unbeknownst to the Soweiter forces the Batrachians had moved up in the night to attack the Soweiter force in the left flank. The Batrachians had divided into two forces to accomplish this.
The first force under the command of General Finn de Siecle came from the more southerly direction. The other force, under the command of General Soleau, came from a more northerly direction.

The southern Batrachian force:
General Finn de Siècle
The Wild Goose Chasseurs
The Garde N'est Pas
The Musketeers L'Ouef
The Pandours du Pinque
The Pandours San Serif
1 cannon

The northern Batrachian force:
General Napoleon Soleau
The Cuirassiers Royale
The Poupon Dragoons
The King's Musketeers
The Queen's Musketeers
The Musketeers de Limbourg
1 cannon

The situation at dawn:

As dawn broke and the Batrachians were able to see the Soweiter forces arrayed in and between the two villages they realized they had not arrived exactly as planned. The force under General de Siècle was heading in the right direction, but farther back than expected. Meanwhile, the force under General Soleau had mistaken another group of buildings to the northeast of the Soweiter line as one of the two villages. As the Batrachians moved forward the Soweiter forces realized the danger and General Pflugnickel re-ordered his line, sending some of the troops towards the northeast buildings and repositioning some of the troops that remained on the hill and in the east village.

The Batrachians retained the imitative and proceeded to advance on the Soweiter position. As the southern force under General de Siècle neared the east village the Woostershire Muskets stationed there opened fire. In the ensuing hail of musket fire the Musketeers L'Ouef were knocked out of the fight (result = destroyed).

As the Batrachians advanced further towards the east village the Soweiter artillery rang out and put paid to the Pandours San Serif (result = destroyed). The Woostershire Muskets fired at the Wild Goose Chasseurs to little effect (result = no effect). As events developed it was a toss up as to which side would reach the northeast buildings first. The Soweiter League won the toss and the Muttonshire Musketeers managed to get there first. By this time the Soweiter forces were mostly in position and firing broke out all along the line. The Soforth Highlanders devastated the  Poupon Dragoons (result = destroyed), but the Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps, the Queen's Musketeers and the King's Musketeers failed to inflict any significant losses on their opponents (results = no effect).

The initiative seemed to be firmly in the Soweiter force's favor now. More cannon fire and musket fire rolled up and down the line. The cannon fire had little effect, but the Muttonshire Musketeers, the Soforth Highlanders, The Pfennig-Pfarthing Pfreikorps, and the Woostershire Muskets caused widespread destruction and disruption (results = destroyed). This put the Pandours du Pinque, the Cuirassiers Royale, the Queen's Musketeers and the King's Musketeers out of the fight.

At this point, with only his artillery left, General Soleau quit the field. He was followed shortly by General de Siècle, having only the Wild Goose Chasseurs, the Garde N'est Pas and the straggling artillery, so to carry on the attack seemed futile at this point.

Having beaten off this flank attack the Soweiter forces retired back to the villages to rest and recuperate.

Maybe I should've moved the Batrachians slower to give them time to bring their artillery to bear and to inflict some small arms losses on their enemies. As it turned out moving in quickly didn't seem to favor the attackers.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Troops (and old ones reassigned)

Finally managed to get a few miniatures painted.
First up, the Ballyfoole Hussars, also known as the Ballyfoole Light Brigade (formerly painted a sort of purple and dubbed the Heisenberg-Hasenpfeffer Hussars). Now repainted red and green and reassigned. Under the command of Colonel Flynn.
Next, the Woostershire Infantry of Grand Thidwick. These are veteran campaigners, commanded by Colonel Lancelot Threepwood.
A vivandiere wearing part of the uniform of the Ballyfoole Hussars. (apologies for the fuzzy picture)
And finally, a family of fallow deer from the local deer park.
These are all Foundry miniatures.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Random Flora

Following on from my Random Fauna post here is the plant life side of things.

1. For plants, first determine what type of plant:
table 1 - roll 1d10
1 herb
2 spice
3 vine
4 fern
5 bromeliad
6-10 flower

table 1a - flower type - roll 1d20
1-4 orchid
5-6 rose
7 primrose
8 daisy
9 lily
10 tulip
11 lupine
12 crocus
13 geranium
14 nasturtium
15 thistle
16 peony
17 pansy
18 jasmine
19 carnation
20 other (snapdragon, sunflower, lavender, etc.)

2. Determine relative general size
table 2 - size - roll 1d10
1 dwarf/pygmy/pocket
2-3 small
4-7 average
8-9 large
10 giant

3. For flowers determine color
table 3 - roll 1d12
1 black
2 brown
3 green
4 blue
5 purple
6-7 red
8-9 orange
10-11 yellow
12 white

4. Determine descriptives
table 4 - roll 1d32? (or whatever it takes. ha ha. I've been adding to this list as I think of additional adjectives.)
1 creeping
2 wandering
3 weeping
4 shrinking
5-6 poison (by touch or by ingestion)
7 carnivorous
8 clinging
9 tangle(r)
10 strangle(r)
11 fuzzy
12 prickly
13 thorny
14 stinging
15 day
16 night(blooming)
18 afternoon
19 morning
20 evening
21 dawn
22 sun
23 moon
24 sweet
25 spicy/spice
26 sour
27 pungent
28-30 medicinal
31 animal (specify type - dragon, tiger, elephant, etc.)
32 pseudo

table 5 - terrain-based descriptive - roll 1d6 and choose from column that corresponds to terrain; if following a river, roll 1d6, 1-4 use terrain, 5-6 use water column
1 jungle grassland mountain        desert water
2 jungle grassland mountain        desert river
3 jungle field rock        sand(y) river
4 swamp savannah stone               sand(y) brook
5 forest savannah cliff        dune           lake
6 tree         veldt cave                dune           pond

Results are open to interpretation and don't necessarily have to be taken literally.

Examples rolled up for the Ballyfoole expeditions:
small morning grassland fern (maybe it opens up in the morning to catch any dew and then folds back up to retain moisture as the day wears on)
average sized strangler mountain geranium with "black" flowers (maybe it has tendrils or something that tend to catch on passersby, and since your average geranium is not that big the "strangling" is probably not serious or life-threatening)
thorny dwarf mountain bromeliad

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Random Fauna

In the comments to a recent post --- Ballyfoole Expedition to Afrodesia --- Frank suggested providing the names and descriptions of the plants and animals discovered by the expeditions. So I've been playing around with the idea and have worked up the following tables to generate some of that. Now, I had no intention of trying to make the tables balanced based on actual percentages of various types of plants and animals in Africa or anywhere else for that matter, nor in trying to be all-inclusive or even relatively comprehensive in listing possible types or categories. Consider this a work in progress and open to revision and suggestions.

1. For animals, first determine what type of animal:
table 1 - roll 1d6
1 bird (roll on 1a)
2 mammal (roll on 1b)
3 reptile (roll on 1c)
4 amphibian (roll on 1d)
5 insect (roll on 1e)
6 other (roll on 1f)

Next, break it down further
table 1a - birds - roll 1d6
1 parrot
2 finch
3 songbird (warbler, lark, wren, cuckoo)
4 wader (crane, ibis, heron)
5 fowl (cock/hen, pheasant, pigeon)
6 other (hornbill, sunbird, bee-eater, mousebird, hawk)

table 1b - mammals - roll 1d12
1-2 monkey
3 cat
4-5 rodent
6 civet
7 genet
8 mongoose
9 bat
10 antelope/gazelle
11 hooved animal (table 1ba)
12 other (table 1bb)

table 1ba - roll 1d6
1-2 pig
3 goat/sheep
4 deer
5 bovine
6 equine

table 1bb - roll 1d8
1 fox
2 jackal
3 mole
4 shrew
5 hedgehog
6 hare
7 weasel
8 otter

table 1c - roll 1d6
1-2 lizard (gecko, chameleon, skink, agama, monitor)
3-4 snake
5 turtle
6 crocodile

table 1d - roll 1d6
1-2 frog
3-4 toad
5 newt
6 salamander

table 1e - roll 1d8
1-3 butterfly
4-6 beetle
7 moth
8 grasshopper

table 1f - roll 1d6
1 spider
2 scorpion
3-4 snail/slug
5-6 fish

2. Determine relative general size
table 2 - size - roll 1d10
1 dwarf/pygmy/pocket
2-3 small
4-7 average
8-9 large
10 giant

note: this is relative to average animals of that type. So a giant beetle might only be a few inches long, while a giant otter might be the size of a large dog. It's more of a descriptor than an actual size tied to real units of measurement.

Next determine color patterning
table 3 - roll 1d10
1-2 single solid color
3-4 lighter underneath (roll on normal color table for animal type, and then again on color table 4 and subtract 4 from the die roll. Lighter of the two colors goes underneath - belly, chin, etc.)
5 spotted (large spots like a cheetah or rosettes like a leopard, or other similar large spot-like marks)
6 speckled (small spots)
7 striped across (like a zebra or tiger)
8 striped lengthwise (like a skunk or one stripe on each side like some antelopes)
9 banded (a few wide bands of color)
10 two-toned (like a giant panda or tapir or other)
For 5-10 roll once for primary color and then roll again for the secondary color

table 4 - mammals - roll 1d10, subtracting 4 in desert terrain
-3 white
-2 light tan
-1 light gray
0 pale yellow
1 yellow (like a leopard)
2 orange/tawny (like a tiger or like a lion)
3 red (like a fox)
4 medium tan
5 medium gray
6 medium brown
7 dark gray
8 dark brown
9 black-brown
10 black
Suggestions are just that, suggestions. Interpret color how you like.

table 5 - colors for other animals - for reptiles roll 1d4 for main color; all others roll 1d10
1 black
2 gray
3 brown
4 green
5 blue
6 purple
7 red
8 orange
9 yellow
10 white

Determine tail length
table 6 - tail length - roll 1d6
1 long
2-4 medium (relative to animal type)
5 long
6 none

Determine descriptives based on features and/or terrain
table 7 - distinctive feature - roll 1d20
1 spiny
2 scaled
3 bushy-tailed
4 maned
5 flying (as in gliders)
6 ring-necked
7 tufted (ears)
8 crested
9 bearded/mustached
10 masked
11 ringtailed
12 snubnosed (short-nose for animal type)
13 spectacled
14 webfooted
15-20 distinctively colored feature, roll on table 7a for feature and on color tables 4/5 for color)

table 7a - distinctively colored feature - roll 1d10, subtract 1 for flyers, add 1 for monkeys
0 -wing
1 -breast
2 -belly
3 -footed
4 -tailed
5 -faced
6 -cheek
7 -throat
8 -nose
9 -eared
10 -tongued
11 -handed

table 8 - terrain-based descriptive - roll 1d6 and choose from column that corresponds to terrain; if following a river, roll 1d6, 1-4 use terrain, 5-6 use water column
1 jungle grass mountain desert water
2 jungle grass mountain desert river
3 jungle field          rock         sand(y) river
4 swamp savannah stone sand(y) brook
5 forest savannah cliff         dune           lake
6 tree         veldt cave         dune          pond

This might be over-complicating what is just some "fluff". But for fun I rolled up a few recently discovered animals. These are:
A small flying forest snake, with green and brown stripes running down its length.
A large red-throated swamp crocodile, two-toned in green and yellow.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Flags and Heavies

First, a few units have received flags. Starting with the Mongoose Infantry of Djahli.
Mounted hill tribesmen of Ollistan
And the Muttonshire (1st) Regiment of Grand Thidwick
Next, something disturbs a family of wild pigs...
Ah, it's the von Rotten Cuirassiers, the heavies of the Bossanovan cavalry. Also known as the "Black and Blues". Commanded by Colonel von Bruizer.
And finally, the Marquis Maurice l'Oeuf, ambassador from Batrachia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Case of the Missing Lynx

Missing Lynx Found! 
This mascot of the Ballyfoole Musketeers, seen here with an officer of that regiment, has been spotted.

Meanwhile, Lord Burleigh Throckmorton (in the red coat), Duke of Cummerbund, Major General of Grand Thidwick forces, is seen here consulting with Colonel Bailey (in the green coat) of the Ballyfoole Musketeers. 

While more tribesmen gather in the hills.

Tricorne officers and cat are Foundry. The Pathans are Old Glory, if I recall correctly.