Monday, 23 October 2017

Summer Hols! Brilliant!!

Back now, so more wargames shenanigans...

I got into WW2 with Peter Pig's Abteilung & enjoyed those rules but needed to be able to play solo so went for THW Nuts! Big Battles. Actually a Company level game so unlikely to have more than a Battalion per side anyway...

Any road up... here's a few pics of last night's face-to-face game. Lots of questions for THW forum but overall quite happy with the rules. Of course, I will have to tinker with them somewhat...

The German attack from their Left. They had dithered instead of immediately attacking the ruined village on their Right & baulked at traversing the woods on their Left whilst causing congestion in their Centre, down the road.
 The British counter-attack swarmed across the hill to be halted by enemy fire.
A Troop of Pumas sweep around to stall the British advance. Brits forced to flee from sandbagged positions by overwhelming enemy fire. Plenty more occupying the ruins, though...
Pz IVs in the foreground ready themselves for an attack on the ruined village which was eventually successful as their infantry stormed the buildings, forcing the Brits out.
German Left turns in on itself to meet the British counter-attack. The Bocage proves difficult to negotiate.

All in all, not a bad game but fraught with questions. I am still struggling to adapt my Abteilung orbats & basing to Nuts! BB but will persevere. As far as I can, I am determined to make as many periods as possible Solo-friendly & thus more readily available to me at any time of the day or week.

I will return to this period/ruleset.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Altengard vs Krakovia

Here's an AAR for a recent game - I unpired it, so don't blame me for the deployments or orders for either side.

Altengard is my Holy Roman Empire analogue. 

Krakovia is Poland-plus (including Tabors & with the Winged Husars making an early appearance… my world, my rules)

ALTENGARD           Attacker  WR2+1 for Captain 

2 Imperial Knights                                            
1 Imperial Mounted Crossbows                    
4 Mercenary Light Cavalry                            
2 Imperial Spears                          
2 Imperial Crossbows                                                      
2 Brabançon Spears                                      
2 Brabançon Crossbows                                                  
1 Mecenary Pikes                        
1 Mercenary Hand-Gonnes          

1 Captain (Brother Knight Commander)
1 Black Brethren       
1 Order Spears                            
1 Order Crossbows                      
1 Varangian Warriors                 
TOTAL:    21 units +1 Captain     513pts

KRAKOVIA              Defender  WR3+1 for Captain 

4 Winged Hussars     
3 Vilnian Horse                             
3 Bohemian LC                            
2 Town Militia           
2 Tabors                                         

White Company
1 Captain  
1 Knights
1 Longbows

3 Varangian Warriors

TOTAL:19 units +1 Captain        550pts

Right: Mercenary Pikes/Hand-Gonnes with Varangian Warriors.
Centre: Brabançons in front, Imperial Spears in support.

Centre: Brabançons in front, Imperial Spears in support.
Left: The Brethren Contingent, Imperial Knights & Crossbows, backed up by all the Light Cavalry.
Facing them, the bulk of the Krakovian Horse, Vilnians to the fore, Winged Hussars behind, hold their Right while the Town Militia & the Varangians hold the woods in the Centre.
The Krakovian Left Centre is held by their Tabors, with the White Company & LC hold the Left flank (more LC in Reserve, behind the woods)

Altengard open with an attack on their Right.
Vilnian Horse move to intercept.

Altengard LC swarm around the rear of the Vilnian Hose while the heavies charge to the front, causing a Rout with the Krakovian Horse destroyed between the Altengard hammer & Anvil.
Meanwhile the rest of Altengard's army slowly advances.

The Winged Hussars advance to contest their Right, supported by the LC Reserve (moved from the centre to the flank)

The Mercenaries engage each other causing confusion.
The Centre comes to the crunch with the Varangians counter-charging from the woods.
Krakovia's Right is dispersed

Altengard fail to make an impression in the Centre & fade on both flanks, so throw in the towel, leaving Krakovia safe for now.

I had given the Krakovian Town Militia a higher Armour Class for their Pavises, but this makes them too resilient in RRtK. 
In future, I will lower their AC but allow them to count Cover vs Missile fire due to the same large shields. 
This would obviate their need to deploy in a wood & would help them to use their devastating firepower to greater effect in the open. 

The Terror effect of the Hand-Gonnes was never utilised. Nor was the fact that the Pikes were impervious to frontal assault by Mounted.
The Undisciplined Winged Hussars typically fought well but ended up all over the place & unable to regroup.

The early loss of Altengard's C-in-C (Z makes a habit of leading from the front) was mitigated by the Brethren's Brother Knight Commander taking over - albeit all to briefly as he too soon succumbed to fate as his unit was Routed from the field, severely hampering Altengard's command & control & eventually costing them the battle. 

Suffice it to say, I'd've done things differently (engage smug-mode)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Keep the Table Tidy: Playing Aids

You might have noticed that I like devices - any gadget or gizmo I can use to keep up the flow of the game & keep me focussed on the little metal chaps giving their all for glory down there on the table-top, rather than being constantly interrupted by the mechanics of the thing.

I have written about my loathing of clutter & use of Hidden Markers & Poker Chips as shown again below. I make up Movement sticks for ease of use & store all of these (1 per General) off-table on a conveniently upturned RUBox lid from the army in question.

All this stuff takes a short time to make up & is then ready for the forseeable future.

I hate rummaging through rule books mid-game & why do rules writers have no talent for producing a comprehensive Cross-Referencing Index or even a Quick Play Sheet that has what I need on it, in the order I need it? It's almost as if they can't read my mind & anticipate every single situation that a confused wargamer might find himself in!

With that in mind, I always produce my own reference material. I have a Codex on my computer where I have tried to gather all info on a particular subject (Melee, Shooting, Charging, Pursuit - all that) in one place, each to a seperate file, even duplicating info where necessary so that I can walk through any situation that turns up. That & a home made Index for the Rules (my one criticism of RRtK is that it has many typos in the Historical lists & the Index often gives the wrong page for the rule in question - but I can live with that) makes for really quick reference when in need. 

With some games - particularly the ones where I play against real live opponents - I have, in the past, produced large print sheets of info which I magnetically attack to a large whiteboard so we can all reference the phases as they are played through. For RRtK, I made a smaller version on my iPad but the technology just confused my lazy opponents.

For RRtK, I came up with old-school crib-sheets. Everything I need to know during a game (except any rule misunderstanding - my opponents are competitive, perhaps overly so, that's why I enjoy solo so much) is listed on a crib-sheet, pasted to a stout A4 card & relevant to each army.
Each General gets the crib-sheet for his force (which has a list of Mercenary Stats on the back in case he is using them) plus a Reaction Test crib-sheet with Melee troops Reaction on one side & Missile troop on the other - just flip it over & you are good to go. Magic is dealt with on a third. 

In this way, all phase-to-phase info is at the fingertips of the General (off-table, of course - clutter at your peril in my presence) at all times so the flow of the game is as unimpeded as can be.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Keep the Table Tidy: Hidden Activation Markers

In RRtK, each General has a number of Activation Points, corresponding to his modified War Rating.
I keep track of these by giving the Generals poker chips to represent these points, which they surrender to the "bank" as each Body is activated.

However, once activated, that Body MUST move at least 1/2 move towards its target each turn until his terms of engagement are met.

This can be good (more points to spend on getting other Bodies moving) or bad (Oops! I didn't think he'd commit his Reserve to that flank so soon - I am in real trouble!)

This means I needed some way to record which Bodies are Active.

Bearing in mind my dislike, nay revulsion, at cluttered table-tops & my love of magnetic sheets, this is what I came up with.

Thin magnetic sheet, cut from the cheap off-cuts from & shaped, then a bit of landscaping done on the front bit which shows when the back bit is magnetically fixed to a steel base (see the basic Activation Markers behind the units)

I position it in the centre of a base to indicate a single unit activated & straddling 2 bases, as shown, to indicate the whole Body is up & running.

Inoffensive to the eye (beautiful, even, some might say...), easy to make & use - what's not to like?

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Keep the Table Tidy: Hidden Hit Markers

Now, I am the first to admit to more than a little OCD (or CDO as it SHOULD be rendered - alphabetically...) but I have always have a thing about keeping any "foreign objects" off the table while playing. I hate to see games obscured by rule sets, order chits, piles of dice - even those used as markers - curtain rings on figures denoting casualties, cups & bottles, car keys etc

When I played in 28mm or even 15mm. I made up simple markers for games with info written on the bottom & the top landscaped, maybe with a visual clue to the marker's ID such as the number of stones denoting the hits taken, or in some cases, went as far as painting up specialist figures or even vignettes to do the job.

RRtK presented a problem, though, as Bodies are made up of 1 or more Units - each Unit being a single base, 40mm x 25mm - each of which has to have its hits recorded individually, to be used in Reaction Tests & to indicate when it is spent & must leave the field.

This is what I came up with.

Firstly, as I base all of my new figures on steel bases (I get mine from Jim at  a lovely bloke who will do custom sizes if you ask him nicely) in order to store them in my huge collection of Really Useful Boxes (horribly expensive in the UK if bought from Staples but about 1/3 the price at Rymans), lined by thin magnetic sheets to keep everything in place, especially during transit - I can even turn the boxes upside down safely!

Jim does these too, but I get mine from Coritani at magnetic as they originally made them for me custom sized for the RUBoxes & now do them as standard. They also sell off-cuts cheaper which I use for my markers. Coupled with their extra-thin steel paper, I record hits on the underside of bases.

Just need to make up a few small squares with numbers on - remember to do a lot of "loose change" - & away we go. It has the added advantage of a bit of fog of war, as I sometimes forget that my Knights or whatever have already taken 4 hits so are close to breaking & order them in for a charge.

The hit are not kept secret from your opponent, either - they are revealed every time a unit takes Reaction - but it's surprising how many times he might be held at bay by a nearly spent unit because he's forgotten how mauled they are. Such fun...

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

5 of my 12 Nations for the mega RRtK semi-Historical solo Campaign.

Castellian Army. Based on my original historical El Cid Spanish. Not much changed with this one. Mostly Undisciplined troops & weak missile units.
Caliphate Army. An amalgam of many Muslim Armies of the El Cid period. Another of my Historical pair. I am in the process of dividing them up into 3 distinct Armies, the Almohads (including al-Andalus) in the West, the Seljuqs in the East, with the Ayyubid Sultanate in the centre, all part of the mighty Muslim Empire in my alternate timeline.
The Brethren. Based on the Teutonic Knights in Livonia with some Fanatic Red Brethren & Acolytes but plenty of Order foot soldiers as well as Subject Foot & Light Horse.
The Golden Horde. Mongol invasion army. Note Chinese Levy Foot on their Left & the Rocket Launcher in the centre. [I'm probably on a watch list after googling Muslim Caliphates & Chinese Rocket Launchers...]
Altengard Army. Based (very) loosely on the Holy Roman Empire, famous for being neither Holy, Roman or an Empire. Relying on lots of Mercenaries (Swiss Pikes & Hand-Gonnes, Brabançon Spears & Crossbows, Bohemian Light Cavalry) so plenty of potential for skulduggery if the Mercenaries decide to go on strike or even make a bid for power.

With the Caliphate army split into 3 Nations, that actually makes 7 down, 5 to go.

I have started my "Polish" army, bringing Winged Hussars forward in my universe to fight alongside Tabors (I LOVE Warwagons!) & Dual Armed Town Militia with Pavise. Also got plenty of Longbows in to start my "English" Voulgiers for my "French" more Pikes for my "Papal States" (can't wait for an anti-Pope to rise up...) & still searching for the right figures for my pre-gunpowder "Muscovy". Once they are all in place, with a basic 200pts army plus whatever the first Recruitment Rolls bring up, I'll post pics & get the Campaign proper underway. The idea is to re-roll for Recruitment every year & paint up what is needed before commencing so I can start asap & build up the armies as I go.

After that: finish my 6 Nations Maurice War of the Austrian Succession armies (if I live that long)

Monday, 14 August 2017

I am also very happy with my new terrain, both how it is generated & how I have actualised it.

Using 10mm figures has its advantages in that I can use a smaller board for most games.
For RRtK it is 3'x3' & a defender can choose which of the 4 sides to deploy on. Of course, the attacker may refuse, trying to outflank you, but if he does so too many times, he will forfeit his attack & reduce his National Morale - not a good thing to do.
The basic 3'x3'
3D terrain pieces. They do not have to be pretty, just reasonably precise in their measurements.
The bare bones of a terrain selection with a Gulley in the left foreground & right background, a River running through it & a few hills, one quite high, giving 5 seperate levels (count 'em)
The same table, dressed with a Cigar Box Battlemat & with Woods, Impassable Rocky Ground & the actual blue River adorning the field, plus 2 or 3 fields for show, in this case.
The Brethren prepare to resist the onslaught of the Golden Horde as they sweep across the River.

Not too bad, huh?