Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SYW Campaign, Days One and Two

The epic struggle for Europe is under way.  13 players and three assistants are pushing around hundreds of figures over the surfaces of three 6X4 tables trying to capture as much territory as possible.  Alliances have been made and then broken causing a great deal of consternation in various corners.  In the beginning, Prussia, Bavaria and the Hessian states stood together agains Russia and Austria.  France and Hanover signed a non-aggression treaty and remained neutral.  But Austria attacked France and Hanover joined with Prussia by the end of the day to alter the political landscape.  Below are some pictures from day one.
This is the eastern table, occupied mostly by Russia, but with some Austrian and Hessian holdings in the midst.

This is the central table, with the bulk of the Austrian territory on the left and the bulk of thePrussian to the right.

And finally, the western table, with France to the left and Hanover to the right.

Austrian cavalry routed a French intrusion onto Austrian soil.

Prussia came to the aid of its Hessian ally.  Three Russian brigades square off against one Prussian and one Hessian brigade.

Day two saw France make peace with Austria and begin a full scale assault on Hanover.  On the Eastern front, Austria turned its back on Russia and sided with Prussia.  Russia now stands alone.  But she remains mighty with many fresh brigades still in drawers ready to defend the Motherland.  Russian cuirassiers have destroyed an Austrian cavalry brigade as well as the Hessian cavalry contingent.  But Prussian guns have bettered their Russian counterparts, wrecking two batteries and heavily damagin a third.  As the day drew to a close, battles raged on the two outside tables while the middle table entered into a lull.  This isn't what yours truly had envisioned, but that shouldn't surprise me when working with teens and preteens.

Here, Austria takes advantage of its peace with Prussia to move troops elsewhere.

This is the Hessian stronghold.

Russian cuirassiers (lower right) prepare to seek revenge on the turncoat Austrians before they can do too much mischief.

Hanover's forces are crowded into a small area in an attempt to form a defensive line against the numerically superior French.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Final week of Camp VIP

We are endign Camp VIP with an elaborate experiment.  Every SYW figure I have will be made available for use on a battlegroud that will be comprised of three tables.  Seven different European powers will be represented in this campaign game.  The goal for each country will be to defend its domain while trying to take away land from others.  Each will also have a diplomat that can try to persuade other players to form alliances or agree to treaties.
I will have 14 players along with three assistants.  I am hoping that this will be an epic experience that will give the kids an understanding of the scope of the Seven Years War and the degree that it impacted Europe.  I should know early on if this experiment will work or not.  Posts with pics will follow.

The map above is a rough recreation of Europe of the 1750s.  The dark blue is Prussia, green is Russia, yellow is Austria, sky blue is Bavaria, middle blue is the Hessian states, gray is France and red is Hanover. The little black squares represent towns and the small ovals denote capitals.  The map will be broken down into three 6x4 sections.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Our second refight of Chickamauga ended today with a Union victory.  Despite many desperate charges at the end, the men in blue held their line, including the coveted crossroads.  Special honors go to Dodge's inexperienced brigade that held off three times its numbers.  This kept vital rebel reinforcements from reaching the crossroads.  Starkweather's men gave ground to Polk's men, but kept them from getting around the left flank.  This also allowed Scribner's men to move to the center.  This tipped the scales of victory to the Union.  The 2nd Tennessee continued to add to it glorious record by winning two more meles before it was turned back by intense musketry.
Dodge's men continue to hold the hill.  Their casualties were light because the rebs kept charging with cold steel, only to be turned back by some incredible dice rolls by the yankees.

This is towards the very end of the battle.  The Confederate batteries have been driven off and determined Union counter-attacks have pushed the rebs back.  The line has held.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Regimental Fire and Fury round 2

 Today we began round two of our Chickamauga battle the the players switching sides.  I was curious to see if there were to be any significant differences between the two games.  I didn't have to wait long to see that there would be.
The video above shows the two sides gearing up for the day's action.  They were eager to pitch in.

Right off the bat it was obvious that the Confederates were going to be much more aggressive than their counterparts had been previously.  The casualties bore grim testimony to the change in tactics.  The the cost appears to have been worth it as the battle wrapped up today.  The photos below are offered as support of that opinion.

General Dodge's inexperienced troops did well for themselves on this day, holding off two or three times their number.

To the east of the crossroads General Baldwin's brigage stubbornly held on to this field. Baldwin,  However, was killed in the process.                                                                        

The commander of the Confederate right was particularly aggressive.  Brigadier Leonidas Polk was killed early on, but this appeared to only spur his crack soldiers on to avenge him.  The 2nd Tennessee distinguished itself by driving off a battery and then routing a regiment of infantry.

The prized crossroads were attacked furiously and the casualties were high as evidenced by the markers.  The men in blue are holding, but barely.  Scribner's brigade is on the way from the extreme left, but will they arrive in time to drive back the gray wave?  We'll find out tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Regimental Fire and Fury game

This week is American Civil War week. For the first time I am using Regimental Fire And Fury instead of Johnny Reb III. It took awhile for the kids to pick up on the differences, but as the game played out they all seemed to be getting the hang of it. We are fighting out a battle that took place at the end of the first day Chickamauga. Five Confederate brigades are trying to break through five Union brigades defending a vital crossroads. After almost three full game turns the Rebs are using superior numbers to roll up the Union right. The attempts to break through in the middle have been meager at best. And the Yankees are attacking the rebel right and is looking promising.

This shows the action on the Union right flank.  Dodge's brigade has been completely destroyed, and Dodge was killed in action.

This shows the crossroads at the end of the game.  It is still in Union hands, so the game was a draw, but the yankees lost many more men than the rebs.

It was a good game.  The kids picked up the rules fairly quickly and the battle seemed very realistic in terms of its outcome.

Tomorrow the teams will switch sides and see if they can do better than their counterparts did in the previous game.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Week one of Camp VIP was a great success. We ended the week with a series of six small scenarios. A win would be worth 3 point, a draw one point, and one point would be deducted if a player had to bring in reinforcements. At the end of the day the French and Indians had piled up 9 points to the British 4, a clear victory for the French. Everybody had a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed working withthismgroup. Special thanks are due to my three helpers,John, Matthew, and Brian. Thanks guys!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

French and Indian War skirmish game

We are off to a great start.  12 players and three assistants are crowded around several tables depicting a forested valley in the American colonies.  On one end is a small town from which a road emerges towards the west and a frontier fort.  Amidst trees and streams are several farmsteads.  Branching off toward the south is a table containing a native village whose inhabitants are eager to bring havoc to this idyllic setting.

Many of the colonists and British were already on the table at the game's beginning.  The allied leaders were warned that raiding parties of French and Indians could appear from anywhere at any time.  The task of the red coated soldiers was to protect the town, the fort, a very strategic blockhouse in the middle of the table and the many farms that dotted the landscape.  Additionally, they were to try to destroy the native village which had become a seriousl threat to the locals.

The French and Indians, on the other hand, were to rain down terror on the valley, and set about their mission with great energy.

The first victory went to the French as they destroyed a cabin that had been built wrecklessly close to the hostile village.  Soon after that, three war parties appeared and launched an attack on the blockhouse.  This jolted the allied companies into a brisk response.  The fort was stripped of most of its defenders to go to the aid of the blockhouse, and most of the soldiers billeted in the town embarked on spreading out into the rest of the valley to defend the locals.  And then a large faction of French marines and militia appeared on the south side of the town.  The soldiers were recalled to fend off this threat.

On the second day of our conflict, more French regulars arrived at the Indian village and began to make their way toward the main table so as to storm the fort.  Some marines and Indians managed to sneak through the woods to the south of the fort where the lone company of the 28th Foot did their best to man the walls.  But the French and Indians were stunned when three companies of Rogers' Rangers disembarked from canoes and attacked the village.  Things had changed for both sides in a hurry!

By the end of our second day the French threat to the town had all but been extinguished, shot down by volleys from the disciplined British.  But in doing this, many units had been prevented from aiding their comrades to the west.  The blockhouse fell to the French as did four of the farmsteads.  Rogers' Rangers were roughly handled by the few defenders of the village and were completely dismayed by the arrival of companies of French regulars.  The attack on the fort, while menacing at first, had diminished considerably by the end of the day.

As day three begins the French have taken the lead in points, 225 to 170, but many companies are on the move and it is clear that much bitter fighting is still ahead.

The fort and the western end of the table, well defended at the beginning of the game.

The fortified town at the eastern end.

A farm about to be taken by a war  party.

Some of the players at the western end of the table.
I will conclude this report with a brief video from the very end of the day.  It is my first post of a video, and what I like most about it is the trash talking taking place in the background.  It's the best part of the game!