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!

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