Sunday, 23 October 2016

5 months on - and back to some gaming (part 2)

A blast from the past

Picking up where I left off last weekend, I thought I would start with a quick trip back to one of the old gaming weekends we held at SSWG.
After the demo game of Bolt Action and meeting Lance, who is directing the Pegasus Bridge movie, I thought I would stick to a game we played with a large airborne assault.

This game was played in January 2011, using Flames of War rules.  My British Air-landing were heavily present, attacking the German positions while support came up.
Before the game started though, I snapped a few "reconnaissance photos" of our targets / landing zones with a silly filter on my iPhone.  While low quality, I think they gave some character to the album and to the game itself.

Anyway - UP THE OX & BUCKS!!!

German supplies being staged at the rail yard.
Strategic railroad river crossing.

Here we have some of the actual gaming shots:

The supply depot from the recon shot. 
The rail bridge from the recon shot.
Ox and Bucks air-landing platoon on the assault, taking german artillery by surprise!
Storming a factory building
Airborne troops take the rail yard.
A knocked out German AA emplacement.

Check out all the shots from the album here:  Flames of War - Airborne Assault.

Back to the the present - By Fire and Sword

Back in the now, down at SSWG, we played 2 small games of By Fire and Sword to work out the rules.  Craven was there with his snow themed Muscovites, while John also joined us with his selection of Poles, Cossacks and Swedes.
John was an original kickstarter for the game so had a mixed bag of troops which certainly helped out  when building the forces to face Craven (as my Swedes were stuck in barracks).

We started out by setting up a simple gaming table with a few copse of trees and a small farmstead / village to fight over.

A "simple" gaming table.

Game 1 was an attack by the Muscovites against a force of Polish defenders.
As this was our first ever game, we were unsure about the troops and how they should be used.  I deployed some dragoons in the farm to defend it, whilst the cavalry were in reserve behind.

View from the Polish side of the field.

The Muscovites came on with their infantry opposite the farm ready to advance and make an assault, while the mounted troops were to their right, ready to ride round and clash with my own cavalry.
We learnt a few key things about the rules, and Craven picked up some thoughts on how to deploy his units in future - the Muscovite mounted troops are better as dragoons rather than battle cavalry.

The cavalry clash.

We also learnt that my dice can be awful at times, as the (theoretically) superior Polish cavalry was routed from the field.
The game was over quickly in game terms, with the Polish mounted troops in flight and the Dragoons isolated in the village while the plodding infantry brought up a light gun to help shake them from the farm.

In game 2, we replicated a force similar to the Swedes I am mustering.  We started with the Swedes on the offensive this time, attacking the flank of the larger Muscovite force.

A Swedish raiding detachment.

This time I was in no doubt about how to use the troops at my disposal, but I was certainly nervous given the sheer number of troops I was facing. Quantity really does have a Quality all of its own!
Rather than allow the numerous Muscovite troops to wrap round my flank or wear down my small numbers with their shooting, I charged straight in, aiming for the weaker firelock armed troops with my excellent Reiters rather than hit a pike block face on!

The battle is joined.

The Dragoons too rode forward and provided some supporting fire with decent effect.
I was able to rout the musketeers and begin wheeling into the rear of the pikes before we stopped play.

The conclusion from the two games was that the rules are a fun, though spread over quite a few pages, and certainly quite complex to pick up.
Since the game, I have invested in some sticky tabs to label the key rules sections and the army lists. This will mean we can find the details more easily next time.

The really great thing about By Fire and Sword, is that it has introduced a new period to our gaming, which we really knew nothing about before we picked up the rulebook.  It's always great to learn new things after all!

For the full album, look here:  By Fire and Sword.

See you next time, and happy gaming!

5 months on - and back to some gaming (part 1)

A quick summary

Wow - 5 months with our new daughter Alice has just flown by.
Between her and work, its been hard to get any serious gaming in :-).

Still I did manage to get a few things done:

-  Uploaded the majority of my old gaming photos to Google Photo so I can start linking them up on this blog over time.
-  Get over to the SSWG club in Southend for a day's gaming of By Fire and Sword.
-  Visit the SELWG show last weekend and come away with a little swag!

So for the post today I will talk a little about the last and most recent of these things, along with a little of what's up next!

The SELWG show

Now, I have been going to a few of the gaming shows in London and around for a long number of years.
Salute and SELWG are by far the biggest, but I've also enjoyed good trips to Ilford, Tonbridge and Writtle on many occasions.  Hell, a few trips to Newark have been very rewarding in the past too.
In the past couple of years with various other engagements, the number of shows I've been able to get to has diminished.
This year however, I was determined to make the big two in London at the very least, to keep my gaming fires stoked.
Salute was enjoyable, and I came away with a limited set of new toys!

Fast forward a few months of nappy changes and I was packing a bag to get over to Crystal Palace for SELWG.
The show itself is smaller than Salute with a lot fewer people in attendance, but that just meant I had more time to browse the tables and stalls.

Shopping done!

After meeting up with some old gaming friends, I browsed the tables, picked up all three of the excellent looking Battle for Britain paper armies books by Peter Dennis, and a bargain Osprey book, World War II Airborne Warfare Tactics.

Bolt Action demo by Warlord Games

The last purchase I made was the new Bolt Action version 2 rule book.  I picked this up after having a very entertaining few turns of a demonstration game hosted by the guys from Warlord Games themselves.

Sharing the table also happened to be Lance Nielsen, the director for the upcoming Pegasus Bridge movie.
This looks to be a really exciting project and I can't wait to see it - check it out here: Pegasus Bridge - the movie

The Bolt Action demo was fast and fun, with my Wehrmacht troops trying to hold off an assault by some Allied forces.
Here are some shots of the game:
I hope to read through the whole rule book and give a more detailed opinion soon.

The best of the of the show

There were some other great looking tables at the show, along with a whole bunch of lovely figures and scenery products, which I had to work hard to avoid!

These are a few of the shots from the tables at the show.

You can also find my all my shots from the show here:  SELWG 2016 album

All in all, a fun show with a few great purchases to keep my going through the long winter months ahead.

What's coming next?

Up next time, I will do a trip back in time to a previous game down at SSWG where we had an airborne assault scenario.
I'll also talk about the only game I've really played in the past few months, which was our first outing of the By Fire and Sword rules.

That's it for this time.  Happy gaming!

Monday, 30 May 2016

A slight break in campaigning

Apologies to all for the lack of recent updates.

I am happy to announce that I had a baby daughter 1 week ago today.

The preparation and then care has taken priority over the gaming scene for the past few weeks.

But worry not, those Swedes will be in the field soon, with all of the Reiters undercoated and ready for some colour.

I decided to use a white undercoat, despite the models being 15mm, as I want them to be bright and clean looking.
I am struggling to find lots of source material for uniforms, but the rule book itself has plenty of good shots of the Swedes in there.

I will also probably splash out for the Deluge specific expansion book to see what other illustrations it has to help me with the final details, though I will have time as the horses will be the first points to tackle.

Apologies again for the short update, but needs must when the new recruits are in camp!
All the best and happy gaming.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Talavera 1809 @ SSWG - part 2

We ended part 1 of this all day Talavera replay with the French forces closing in on the British line across the Portina stream.
The SSWG club in Southend on Sea, Essex, hosted the event using the Black Powder rules set along with the Albion Triumphant expansion.  The figures are all 28mm with a decent mixture of manufacturers being fielded.

We rejoin the action as the German and Polish brigades of the IV Corps, under General Sebastiani, have just engaged the British.  Meanwhile on the right flank, the French cavalry face off against the Anglo-Spanish horse.
To support the advancing Germans, Milhaud's dragoons finally moved off and prepared to threaten charges on the British infantry in line across the stream.
French horse artillery support Milhaud's advance
Three regiments of French dragoons

The musket volley's heat up the day as the British engage the French columns and try to halt their assault.
The Germans initial assault is stopped in its tracks and 2 battalions are routed from the field in quick order by the British Guards!
The fighting is uglier with the Polish units and both sides revert to exchanging ever more ragged volleys at each other.
Polish and British units begin their fight
The British Guards brigade halts the initial advance of the Germans
The engagement slows to a musketry duel
The Guards pour on the firepower

Eventually, the French manage to bring up the 5th battalion of Germans using the Brigadier and a sneaky "Follow me!" order.  This brings a fresh unit onto the flank of the British Guards.
This, along with the threat of Milhaud's cavalry begins to wear away at the defenders driving one battalion of Guards back and another into square.
To the right of the Polish brigade, the French advance begins to take momentum with a fresh brigade of troops slamming into the British line in attack columns.
On the far right of the battle, the French cavalry had driven off their Anglo-Spanish opposites, but were threatened in turn by Spanish troops on the hills beyond (represented with Portuguese troops in the shots).
Everything starts to look good for the French, though the Cerro de Medellin is still formidably held by British infantry and artillery.

Follow me!
The British are assaulted by combined arms and the Guards are driven back
French attack columns strike home
The Spanish (Portuguese figures) infantry advance on the French right

At this point, the Spanish troops in Talavera started to make a slow entrance on the French left, threatening to flank their attack on the British.
To counter this, the reserve cavalry was deployed to see the rabble off.

Spanish infantry advance from Talavera
Spanish artillery in action
French cavalry charge in

On the Cerro de Medellin, an ugly war of attrition began, which saw stalemate for the rest of the battle with neither side gaining an advantage.
The breakthrough of the day came in the British centre right, where the heaviest fighting had happened.
The British Guards were forced back by the Germans, while towards the Cerro, the British infantry facing the assault of the French and Poles began to break, leaving gaps in the line.
In the end, event the Guards were routed, taking with them supporting battalions in their flight.

The final attack on the British Guards
And they are routed from the field
The Polish infantry finally see success too

At this stage, the Anglo-Spanish defenders had been split in two, and were forced to retire from the field.
We ended the day with a French victory, though not without issues with command, bungled orders and some terrible dice from both sides.
Great fun was had and we will fight again!

Please check the Google Photos album for all the photos I took from the day:  Talavera 1809 by EssexWargamer
If you are local to Southend or the south of Essex, then please visit the SSWG club website to see whats happening:  SSWG club website.

The battle comes to an end

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Talavera 1809 @ SSWG - part 1

A hectic week led to a tired Wargamer making the journey back to Southend for a "big Napoleonic" game on Saturday.
These big games tend to be pretty damn epic affairs with multiple players fielding their 28mm troops.
I arrived to a table ready set for the battle of Talavera in July 1809 between the forces of France and her allies under the command of King Joseph & Marshall Jourdan, and the Anglo-Spanish forces under Sir Arthur Wellesley & General Cuesta.

As you will see from the various pictures, the battle we recreated was a bloody affair fought using the Black Powder rules set, with a table 6 foot across and I don't really know how wide.  I'll just say it was BIG!!!
Setting up the table for Talavera

Despite it being St George's Day, I took command of my a number of my own French battalions in the centre, representing the Confederation of the Rhine brigade under General Leval, alongside the Polish brigade under the Comte de Valence.
These two brigades made up the left most infantry units on the field, with the remainder of the IV Corps deployed to their right.
Leval's Brigade of Germans

To my left were the cavalry units of General Milhaud, screening the Spanish in the town of Talavera.
Across from my units were the solid ranks of British infantry, with 10 battalions deployed across the Portina stream blocking my advance, with smaller units of redcoat and riflemen skirmishers out in front.
Milhaud's Cavalry
The thin red (and green) line

The battle commenced with the French forces launching a series of thrusts at the British lines, with my own command quickly coming to grips with the enemy.
The defensive fire from the British battalions caused havoc and several battalions were routed from the field, while the remainder deployed into line and exchanged fire with the redcoats.
The Confederation infantry advance with supporting artillery fire
The infantry battle begins

Mean while to the right of the Germans, my Polish brigade woke up from a sluggish start and began a well ordered rush across the field, flanked by more French infantry to their right and some well sighted artillery support.
The advance of the Polish brigade

On the far right flank, the advance of the I Corps troops on the British defences on the Cerro de Medellin hill.This attack was held off for some time by the combined efforts of the Anglo-Spanish cavalry, along with a brigade of Spanish infantry (Portuguese figures).After a long struggle, the French cavalry won that conflict, clearing the plain in front of the Cerro allowing the infantry to advance.

The French right advances
French infantry in squares as the cavalry engage
Spanish lancers
French massed cavalry

As the action heats up, I will pause for a break.  More to come in the next update!