Monday, February 27, 2012

Chinese Farmstead

So, since my Chinese will be engaged with Pulse of Battle, I'll need some "town sections" that fit ancient China. I am a fan of the town sections that Brent has done (see them here) and thought I'd take a stab at one. Of course, the grand assumption is that PoB will share some DNA with FoB, like "town sections". Brent, good assumption?

Although I have drawn up some ideas, including a farmstead, town and walled town, I chose to begin with the simplest of them: the farmstead. I think I'll make two more with some more crops and another with some animals.

The below far is a 6" square and has three sides that are "more open" than the fourth side (the side with the buildings). When we play FoB games, the "openness" of a given town section's facing has more/less effect (for example, shooting from an "open" face is Down-1, while shooting from a "less open" face is Down-2). In my estimation, a farm is more open than a town or hamlet and my section reflects that.

The buildings are wooden blocks. The tile roof is plastic roofing from the train store. The "thatch" roof is cardboard cut with a special scissors and layered. I am not sure how much I like or dislike it. I suppose it was a good experiment. If I hate it later, I can rip it off and go with teddy bear fur. The crops are tiny paper roses from the fabric store.

Oh, I cranked out the last two of the Curtey's commanders too.

Ready to Command

Farmstead: Front



The Warlord uses the farm as his headquarters

The Warlord uses the farm as his headquarters

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tribal Light Horse

Between things today, I was able to paint a unit of tribal cavalry for the Chinese armies. I have another unit like this one to paint. I was surprised at how easily these fellows painted up.This morning they were still in their plastic bags, tonight they are ready for battle! I think that I invested about 4 hours into this unit over the course of the day...from cutting the bases to flocking the finished unit.

All of the armies of the Three Kingdoms had made alliances with various horse tribes, especially Wei with their proximity to many barbarian tribes.

The Light Cavalry bases are 1.5" wide and 3.5" deep for Pulse of Battle. Click here to go to Brent's blog for PoB basing standards.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chinese Leadership

Finally. I was recently able to start collecting Ancient Chinese miniatures. I wish to play Three Kingdoms battles. That period has a lot of color and gaming possibilities. The most favorite thing in my mind is the notion of a "military strategist" cunningly planning strategies and ruses to outwit the enemy.

The rule set I desire to use has not been written yet: Piquet: Pulse of Battle "soon to be by" Brent Oman. I do enjoy the "...of Battle" series of Piquet games - they create enjoyable games and the games complete in an evening. I hope that as I build my collection, that Brent will gain extra motivation and inspiration on the rules. Writing rules is hard work, especially when you have a full time job!

This is likely to be the largest collection I have, as I plan to collect two complete armies. I intend to build the bulk of the forces with Old Glory Miniatures (the Old Glory Army simply makes this much more affordable)...but I began the collection with an order to Curtey's Miniatures in the UK.

The Curtey's line is pretty awesome and extensive...and, from looking at the images on their site, the miniatures look to have great character. Also, they have some things that Old Glory does not. So, I figured I'd send in an order and see what comes in. I ordered various "commanders" and musicians and, of course, a military strategist. I also ordered some tribal light horse. With shipping, I spent about $140 dollars, not bad.

The order was shipped within a matter of days and appeared on my doorstep about a week later...and...the minis are awesome. They are indeed as full of character as they appear on the web site. The castings are pretty clean too, only a handful have required some clean up. So, I can easily recommend these miniatures. I plan another order to get a bit more from them (fire oxen, peasant levies, camp/supply stuff).

So here are some images of some of the commanders and musicians. I have some more to go, plus the tribal horsemen.


Commander & Musician


Army Commander

Military Strategist

Commander and Strategist

Commander & Strategist

Monday, February 13, 2012

SDS Campaign - Vimiero!

Well, it was a busy wargaming weekend indeed…which is good, there are a couple of things I need to focus on that are not wargaming related. Until the next game at Brent’s in March I may not get any more gaming in…

But, Dan started his SDS campaign at this past Sunday’s club meeting. The campaign is set in Spain during the Napoleonic war.

I fielded a force of French Dragoons – good soldiers, but expensive, so I have only 5 men in my force. The first action in the campaign is set at Vimiero. Each player played in two games, with each game on one of the 4 battlefields Dan prepared. I fought on “The Fields” and “The Church”. Not exactly great terrain for a cavalry force, so I fought both fights dismounted.

In the first fight, “the Fields”, my carbines were my disadvantage. Robert ran a force of Highlanders against me. Well, Robert’s muskets out-ranged my carbines. So I had a choice to make – hide in the building and play a dull game, or, close the distance in the open field and take your chances. Obviously, I chose the latter. Hell, I might get lucky and drop a few redcoats before they set up at the fence line!

So, sure enough, I was able to get 4 of my men in line and loosed a volley at the redcoats – no effects. Uh-oh, that could be trouble, and it was. The Brits got to the fence with 6 men and began a back and forth volley – the difference was that I never inflicted any losses on the Highlanders but took losses myself. The firefight lasted a few turns and I got high marks for bravery, but in the end, my boys had to retreat. Game One: Loss.

In game two, I challenged Rick and his Highlanders at “the Church”. Again dismounted, I ran for the Church, but Rick beat me to it. Nevertheless my men bravely went right up to the windows and battled hand-to-hand through the openings and fired at close ranges. Neither Rick nor I could make any headway and the game ended at the expiration of time. Game Two: Tie.

Here is my force:
Special Rules
Capitaine Andre Broussard
2 Pistols, Carbine, Sword
Mounted, Leader
Sergent-chef Bruno Gaudet
Carbine, Sword
Mounted, NCO
Dragon Guillaume Neville
Carbine, Sword
Dragon Jerome Prideux
Carbine, Sword
Dragon Remy Leveque
Carbine, Sword

And…here is my campaign report, in character…

At Vimiero, we fought in two actions, one near a farmhouse and another at a church. The terrain in the area of our unit was ill suited to mounted action, so I ordered my men forward on foot. Near the farmhouse, we came upon a group of British infantry and set up a line at a rail fence and awaited them. I realized then that this position, owing to the short range on our carbines, would be at a disadvantage. So I ordered my men to advance and volley on the enemy before they could reach cover.

Having advanced about halfway through a barren field, we engaged the enemy in a firefight lasting many minutes. The bravery of my men was on full display as, outnumbered, they calmly loaded and fired from the middle of that open field – without so much as a rock to shelter behind.

After seeing several of my men receive wounds, I ordered my command to fall back to our lines. I am sure that we convinced the British that we are a tough enemy.

After reaching the safety of our lines, we assessed our condition. Sergeant Gaudet was seriously wounded in his arm; I fear that he will lose the limb. We sent him towards the surgeon and expect to never see him in the ranks again. Dragoon Prideux received a minor wound to his arm and Dragoon Leveque a minor wound to his leg, both men stayed with the company.

After filling our canteens and ammunition pouches, an order arrived asking us to again advance but to shift our movement towards a small church. I ordered Sergeant Simon, newly arrived from the depot battalion, to take Sergeant Gaudet’s place, and we headed off – again on foot.

Having advanced to the church itself, we found that some British troops had occupied it. Noticing that the structure had low and smallish windows, I ordered each of my men to assault a window. I myself approaching a window and discharging both pistols into the interior of the church.

We battled for what seemed like one half of an hour, but I have no real recollection of an accurate passage of time. Prideux and Leveque fought well, in spite of their earlier wounds limiting them. Neither side would relent. Finally, with the sun fading, the fighting died down and we moved away. We did not go back to our lines, but stayed in a place to watch the church and ensure that no Englishman should move about freely. During the fight, Sergeant Simon was grazed on the head by a bayonet, but is otherwise unhurt and will remain with the company.

Captain Andre Broussard

Field of Battle Napoleonics

Brent is desiring to run a short campaign and has done some great work in getting a few things pulled together. He’s created some maps and worked out some simple rules to “create” a handful of games.

So, last night was game 1 – 1808 in Spain – Britain and her allies against France. We used Field of Battle Second Edition for the game. I and Chris and John played on the French side while Greg (R.) and Greg (C.) played the British. Terry, also on the British side, could not attend.

A neat aspect of the campaign is that Brent secretly rolled the total number of Army Morale Points each side has for the entire campaign – then we as players decide how many such points we wish to take into battle (within a range). So, we decide our risk levels. Cool. In this fight, we each ended up risking about the same amount. The French played with 25 and the British played with 21.

I won’t go into all the gory details here, as you can read Greg C’s account here: Brent will no doubt post something soon as well.  Let us suffice it to say that my force utterly failed at protecting the flank of the French army. Greg R. was as ruthless as he was masterful in his attack! I tip my general’s bicorne to his play Saturday night! Note that ruthless does not indicate that he was anything less than a perfect gentleman!

At add to the defeat, my commander was killed at a critical moment of the battle, leaving his men somewhat at a loss for guidance. Sadly, he was a well-rated commander – although a bit of a drinker (the model is sculpted drinking from a flask!). His eventual replacement was certainly not up to the challenge, though I doubt that even Davout would have been!

The overall French command for this battle was rated as Abysmal, so we can hope that the Emperor assigns more qualified generals! Perhaps he himself should come to Spain!
t was – yes, in spite of the inglorious defeat – a wonderful evening with good guys. Next month, as can be said with Piquet – is a new deck of sequence cards and a new bag of Army Morale chips!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vietnam Gaming

Binhan, a friend of mine, wishes to run small campaign with some club members and has been working on some house rules - so we ran a test game here at the house last night.I played NVA/VC, Rick and Reto played Americans and Binhan ran the game.

We began play at about 8 and played until 12. From 7 to 8 we drank scotch, set up and chatted. 

Having laid out the terrain and dictated the American entry points, I was asked to plan the defense of a village against the capitalist invaders. So, at the ford over the local waterway, I laid a clever trap. An HMG bunker (staffed by local VC) is hidden in the wooded area immediately covering the crossing. While from a nearby hill, NVA spotters will be ready to call in mortar support. Also, the wooded area on the "American" side of the crossing would be the site of a booby trap.

The idea is to halt the infantry with the machine gun fire, drop a couple mortar rounds on them and cause some of them to flee into the woods for cover where the booby trap would hopefully finish off the elimination of a some of the invaders.

Assuming that the bunker would soon be overcome, I secreted some NVA support in various places to nit-pick at the American advance towards the village. In the village, I had more NVA and a recoilless rifle. The idea is to bleed the attackers with aggravating attacks to deplete them enough to avoid losing the village. The real fight would be at the village.

The American, with an M48, an M113 (loaded with infantry), an M125 and lots of boys on foot came on with the Marines on foot in the lead.

At the crossing, I sprang my trap...blammo! I did cause some casualties and caused some men to fall back. Wisely, they did not go into the woods. Soon the M48 took care of the bunker, the VC inside having scurried back down the tunnels, taking their losses with them. Some marines investigated the bunker and discovered a booby trap, but it did not cause any losses to the Americans.

The Americans then fanned out across the rice fields and down the road towards the village. I kept up my mortar attacks, causing more delays than casualties, and sprung a couple surprise general my efforts were in vain. One of locations of my NVA positions was given up when an American commander interrogated a civilian in the rice fields...forcing me to deploy a squad too soon...they were soon chewed up. I'll have to report that civilian to the local committee.

Later in the battle, that same officer interrogated another civilian who was really a VC sapper. The sapper detonated a charge and caused losses and suppression on the command team. I guess he'll be a little more careful in the future about approaching civilians.

By the end of the evening, the Americans had just contacted the village, a squad of marines on foot, supported by the M125 and the M48. As they approached the village, NVA inside opened up causing them to fall back in haste after taking losses.

The important thing to note at this point was that the NVA plan had been successful to this point. Sure, many NVA have been killed and wounded. But many Americans had also. Most of the American losses had been made good by expending Medics, but the Americans had only 2 medic points left and had three wounded fighting at the village, the American losses were gonna stick.

There is no doubt that the Americans could have taken the village with their firepower, but Dan Rather would not have had a pleasant report for Walter Cronkite's evening news. Yes, there was a news crew team on the American they had to be good, this was not a free fire zone!

So, calling the game at the village meant that the NVA side was horribly beaten in points. I think that playing another hour would have brought it more into balance - I would have lost militarily of course, but may have done enough to win the "media victory".

One of the best things on the evening, was Rick's awesome rice paddy terrain. It is that cool rubber stuff from JR Miniatures, and comes painted and simply looks incredible. I need to get some. This is highly recommended!