Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I hope one and all had a very Merry Christmas and took a moment to remember the reason for the season.  As the day draws to a close, I am so thankful for my family.  I wish everyone a very prosperous New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Regimental Fire and Fury

I just received my copy of Regimental Fire and Fury in the mail in time for Christmas break.  I have been putting together some bases fitted to RFF to try out the rules.  They are fairly simple.  The book is well illustrated and gives examples.  The support page is also helpful.

I really like the fact that I can create labels for units.  I had fun doing various units at Antietam.  I have also been able to adapt several of the scenarios from Undying Courage by Scott Mingus to the RFF format.  It's easy to do; you just have to double the ground scale and number of figures per regiment.  It makes for much smaller battles, but I like the larger units.  They look great on the battlefield.

I am going to keep at it and hopefully have some pictures to share in the next couple of days.

Friday, December 2, 2011

First After School Event

I just got home from my first after school military history in miniature event.  24 eager kids showed up, including four girls.  I had to tables set up.  I was able to get most of it ready in the 45 minutes of my planning period.  The boards I purchased worked out real well and I was incredibly pleased.

The Seven Years War game pretty much ran itself.  Several of the kids have taken my summer class and knew the rules well enough to teach them to the newbies.  I took the ACW game and had 14 rookies.  They caught on pretty quickly and everyone seemed to have a great time.  We were able to clean everything up and be out the door by 7:50 P.M.  All in all, I would say it was a tremendous success for having so many kids and a relatively short time to play.

Here are a few pictures:

The ACW game gets under way

The SYW game

The table set-up worked out very well

The cavalry prepare to lock horns

The Confederate side giving their orders

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Event this Friday

This Friday after school I am having my first wargaming event.  It looks like we'll  have a great turnout.  There will be two games, one a SYW game that some of my experienced student will run and then an ACW game that I will oversee. 

I handed out over 25 permission slips today at our weekly meeting, so I could have my hands full.  I'll be sure to take some pictures and post them over the weekend.  It seems that there is a future for our beloved hobby.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ACW fences and upcoming gaming night

A couple of news items for the old blog today, this Thanksgiving Eve.  First, I have been busy making scores of snake rail fence sections.  It has been said you can never have too much fencing for the American Civil War, and I took that to heart.  Most of the sections are 9cm long and 2.5 cm wide.  I also made some corner sections, broken down sections, and other odds and ends.  Once I got the hang of it, I was able to make 20 at a time using only match sticks and white glue.  I'd then spray paint everything black.  Once dry, I'd apply a dark brown, then dry-brush with snakebite leather and then cadet grey for weathering.  Half way through I got the idea to apply some Woodland Scenics ballast to the stands before I spray painted them.  On the others I added foliage once they were flocked.  Here are a couple of photos:

The other news item is that I have started a military history in miniature club at the school I teach at.  At our first meeting I had 32 kids show up.  We have planned an after school event for Friday, December 2 that will go into the evening.  I'll have two games going, one a ACW game and the other SYW.  I have a few kids from my summer class that will be there, so I am hoping they can help the other kids with the mechanics.  I have purchased eight 2'x4' light boards to put over the desks in my room to use as playing space.  I'll put gaming matts over those and see how it works.  This way we can use my room and not have to try to reserve a larger space at the school.  At least 20 kids have expressed an interest in attending, so it should be a full house.  I'll be sure to take some photos and post a report.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

End of Crisis at the Crossroads

I wrapped up the recreation of the Quatre Bras game I was playing.  In the end, the allied left was able to drive off the French, inflicting very high casualties on each battalion.  Even the Belgian dragoons came through against their French counterparts.  On the other flank, the Nassau battalions in the woods were able to hold their ground, but two Dutch militia battalions were destroyed when they were caught in the open by French lancers.  The Dutch foot battery was also overrun by lancers.  Despite these losses, it appeared that the Prince of Orange would be able to hold on with the few reserves he had on hand, partiularly the unblooded Dutch hussars.

The decimated French battalions can be seen trying to regroup in the background

The cavalry meles

The French high water mark in the center.

The Nassauers stubbornly hold on to the woods.

All in all it was a fun game.  Several charges turned out to be surprising and a couple of double sixes had an inpact on the overall outcome.  The big Nassau battalions were tough in firefights having so many figures.  The French columns were not successful in punching through them.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

To my Camp VIP alums

This morning the president of our local wargaming group, HMGS, called and said that he had a member donate about 50 plastic model tanks and asked if I might have any interest in them.  Many of you have asked about World War II types of battles, so I thought some of you might be interested.  These will be sent to me in the near future and I'll probably keep them at school, so if you are interested, let me know and I'd be happy to pass some of them on to you.  You can let me know of your interest by posting a reply on this site.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crisis at the Crossroads

Using the book The Battle of Quatre Bras and some magazine articles, I have put together a battle that takes place at about 3:00 during the battle of Quatre Bras.  The scale isn't quite right, but it gives the general idea of the situation faced by the Prince of Orange at that time.  His lonely Dutch/Belgian division was trying to hold the vital crossroads.  The French had gotten off to a late start, but were making up lost time quickly.  Here are some shots from the first three turns.  To summarize, the French columns of Bonaparte's division jumped off and were quite successful in pushing back the Belgian jagers.  Their initial artillery blasts were also very effective (double sixes), but alas, no officers were hit.
Soye's brigade pushes back the Belgian jagers.

Bonapate's other brigade deploys to attack the wood.

French chasseurs a cheval threaten the allied left flank.

Lancers prepare to attack the crossroads.

From behind the French right

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sharp Practice Part 2

I did a few more turns of the game and I think I am getting the hang of it.  The Indians finally drove the red coats out of the blockhouse and then went on to capture a portion of the wagon train and slew the civilians that were with it.  Rogers Rangers drove off the company of marines, but then took a number of losses when fired upon by Canadian trappers.  A company of the 42nd Highlanders has arrived to try to help Rogers' men break through to the fort.

The grenadier company of the 28th drove off the war party threatening the farmstead, but another group of warriors has arrived on the other side of the table trying to capture yet another farm.  More than half of the wagon train is now in enemy hands.  The braves are trying to hurry the booty back to their village where it will be easier to defend.

On one turn I got the entire way through the deck before the Tiffen card showed up.  That was a fun turn!

All in all, I can see that this is going to be a fun set of rules to capture the thrills of the French and Indian War.

Sharp Practice battle

I have been dallying with the rule set Sharp Practice for a while now.  I am using it for the French and Indian War.  I have about 225 Blue Moon figures for each side, making up about 15 companies per side.  I used the rules, though modified, for my summer class.  Now I am trying to use them as written for a solo battle.

The setting is an obscure valley on the western reaches of the colonies.  There is a fort and several farms along with an Indian village.  A blockhouse stands guard over the village to keep the natives in line.  But the French have been up to mischief and have stirred the Indians into action.  With the help of some Canadian trappers and a company of elite marines, they will rise up and attack an unsuspecting wagon train headed for the fort with a new group of settlers.  Two companies of militia provide the protection while the second company of the 28th Foot mans the blockhouse.  The rest of the 28th garrisons the fort along with a gun and a company of militia.

Things got off to a vicious start as Indians and marines concealed in the woods sprung the trap.  The wagon train was cut in half and Hunter's militia took losses.  Col. Chevalier revealed himself and quickly led another war party and a company of trappers against the blockhouse.  It was a great start for the French.  But things quickly began to unravel.  The Tiffin card showed up early in the next three turns and the dice were not allowing the French and Indians to move into contact.  Despite sufferning some losses, the second company of the 28th Foot fought off three attacks.  Most of the wagon train was able to move toward the fort and out of danger, but the other half is most likely lost to the Indians as Hunter's militia has run away due to too many shock points.

On the fourth turn the British reinforcement card turned up and a company of Rogers Rangers arrived behind the wagon train and fired a terrible volley into the marines, killing three of the 14 men.  The 28th's grenadier company left the safety of the fort to rescue a family at a farm nearby being attacked by the French reinforcements of a war party of Hurons.  The pictures below show some of the action.  Just click on them to enlarge.

The Indian village.  Things are deceptively normal.

The battle for the blockhouse rages near the village.

The Rangers arrive just in time, but will be facing some challenges of their own.

Hurons attack a farm, but the grenadiers of the 28th Foot are coming to the rescue.

Summer draws to an end

I start back to school next week.  I have mixed feelings about that as it has been a terrific summer.  I painted A LOT of 28mm figures for a friend and then worked on my Sharp Practice figures adding some civilians, both European and native.  I also redid the cards to be based on officers rather than units which should help the games tremendously.  There were three videos on Youtube that explained the basic mechanics really well.

Today is my last real off day and I  hope to do a little game in my garage.  If I am successful I'll post some pictures this afternoon.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day four, week four

The last battle began today and things got off to a fast start.  Here are some shots.

Russians agains Prussians

More of the same

This, too

French taking on Austrians

Another view

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day Three, week four

The second battles came to a conclusion today.  The Russians were clear winners over the French and Austrians.  The French started out very boldly and paid for it  when fired upon by four Russian batteries.  The Russian light cavalry were able to defeat their French counterparts on the left flank.  After several attempts, the Russian cuirassiers were finally able to switch to assault orders and proved to be the telling blow, destroying most of a French brigade and breaking the line to assure the victory.

On the other table a much more chaotic conflict took place.  The losses were high on both sides.  Cheers rose from the Austrians when a double six forced Fredrick the Great to check his own welfare.  To the horror of the Prussians, he was killed and things looked very grim for them.  But towards the very end of the battle, Marshal Daun was also subject to a test due to a double tweleve.  An eleven was rolled, indicating that a bullet had hit his pocket watch, demanding a second roll.  A one spot came up, meaning the watch was of inferior quality and the marshal was dead.  Both commanders had been killed!  Has that ever happened before.  In the end, the game was determined to be a draw.

So, going into the last battle tomorrow and Friday, the Russians are in first place with three points, the Austrians and Prussians both have two points, and the French have but one.  The last battles will see the Prussians take on the Russians and the French going up against the Austrians.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week four, day two

We wrapped up the first of three battles today.  Both ended in draws, though the casualty lists wouldn't indicate that.  On the first table, the French were able to turn to the offensive on the last turn of the game and caught a Prussian battery completely unaware.  A stubborn French battalion held a small farm on the left flank against fierce attacks from the Prussians.  The Prussians came close to breaking through in the middle, but a cavalry unit faltered when it was opportunity charged by some French hussars, and that stemmed the tide.

On table two, yet another draw resulted.  The Austrians/Bavarians seemed to have the advantage at the beginning of the day, but a Russian cuirassier regiment rolled a double six in a mele and literally destroyed their Austrian opponent.  The Russians also concentrated their forces on the Austrian middle and caused a lot of damage there, though barely making up for the horrendous losses they suffered on their attack on the Bavarian brigage on their right flank.

At the end of the game, the French still held the dense wood

The farm on the French left flank held as well.

These Bavarians battered the Russian grenadiers

This is the beginning of the second game.  Notice how tidy the table is.

Game two on the other table.  Again, things start out looking pretty orderly

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week four, day one

The final week of Camp VIP is off and running.  Due to a clerical error we only had eleven students today, but a twelfth from the waiting list should be joining us tomorrow.

The three teams of three and one of two listened patiently as we went over the rules.  This group is the least experienced of any I have had, but they appeared to be getting the hang of things by the time the day came to a conclusion.  It appeared that the Prussians were gaining an advantage over the French on one table, and on the other, some extremely good first rolls by the Bavarian brigage blew some major holes in the Russian grenadiers, giving them the edge.  The inexperienced Russian players deployed their powerful artillery too far away to do much good on this first day.  They will probably correct that problem tomorrow.

Below are some photos of today's gaming.  To enlarge them, just click on the image.

The Bavarians deploy to receive an attack from Russian grenadiers.

A huge cavalry battle on the Austrian right flank.

The Austrian center

Both the French and the Prussians were eager to capture and hold this dense wood.  The French arrived first, thus giving them the advantage.

Both tables in action.  At the front of the photo, a French brigade was able to change to an "assault" order and attack the wood.  To their right a small brigade of dragoons was wiped out by superior Prussian numbers.  To their left, a fellow brigade holding a small farm is under intense pressure from a determined Prussian force.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week three, day four

The second battle ended in yet another French victory.  Though it cost them many casualties, the companies assigned to delaying the British reinforcements did just that.  In the meantime, again at great cost, the French were able to take one side of the fort and had men inside at game's end.  The artillery was moving up, the works outside the fort had been taken and so the requirements for victory were met.

To make sure that everyone got to see lots of action in the final game, we set it up so that there were six battles within the battle; six separate objectives and twelve separate commands to try to meet them. 

I have learned a lot about the rules and the students have learned the basics pretty well.  I have enjoyed having each and every one of them in the class.

Here are just two shots from today.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.

In the second game, most of the action centered around the attack on the fort.

In our third and final game, everyone was involved and the engagments were fierce.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Week Three, Day Three

We bagan a new battle today having learned a few things from the previous one.  This time around the action got started much more quickly, but there were still a number of units that didn't get into enough "trouble" to suit their commanders.  We'll wrap this one up tomorrow and then have one last go on Friday.

The Indians have suffered the most in this scenario.  The meles have seen them get hurt particularly badly.  The fort, the main objective of the scenario, is still in British hands, but the garrison is feeling the heat and has lost its only artillery.

Here are some shots from today.  Just click on the picture to enlarge it:

The fort before the game started

French and Indians lurking in the woods.

The 28th Foot on its way to relieve the fort.

Colonial militia deployed to defend the bridge.

Students pointing out their troops

The fort at the end of the day.  Vicious fights took place amidst the field works.

Many a brave warrior perished in the middle of the table.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week Three, Day One

This week we began a week of fighting during the French and Indian War.  I am using a new set of rules, so today was devoted to getting used to them.  It is more of a skirmish game, meaning the scale is much smaller, fought at the company level.  There are A LOT of dice, which means chance plays a bigger part.

Today's scenario was fictional.  It centers around a pastoral valley in the western fringes of the colonies.  The French and Indians have set out to destroy as many farms as possible as well as take the fort.  A wagon train has also come into play, trying to get much needed supplies to the garrison of the fort.

Though we are just learning the rules, there was quite a bit of action at one end of the table.  Below are some  pictures capturing some of the action.

These are the French and Indian players

These young men are commanding the British and Americans

Most of today's action centered around this small village.  American militia garrisoned the buildings.  A few turns later the advanced guard of the wagon train, three companies of the 28th foot, entered and a flurry of volleys ensued.  It appears that the French and Indians are getting the best of it here.

This is the fort at the opposite end of the table.  I made it out of match sticks and am pretty pleased with the end result.

The Virginia State Militia and the first company of the 42nd Highlanders have left the safe confines of the fort to seek out any marauding bands of Indians that have been unleashed on the farmsteads.

This is one of the French and Indian raiding parties itching to cause some havock.
The young lads were terrific today, bearing with me as we worked through the different tables to come to the correct results.  Things should run smoother tomorrow.