Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Father's Day - Sneak Peek

The best way to get the Father's Day present you want is to buy it yourself. Which is what I did. It came today:

I had a quick flick through it, and it's chock full of unit and uniform detail, scenarios and an illustrated history of the troops involved. It's the perfect wargamer's guide to Ben Hughes' 'Conquer or Die!'. Which is the other half of my Father's Day present - a second-hand copy in perfect condition, ex-library (so bound and protected) and only $13, including postage, from the US. Bargain.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Saturday Gladiators

With a quiet Saturday planned after a busy and stressful weekend last weekend, I finally got some gladiators out in order to try out some modifications to 'Munera Sine Missione' that Victor and I have been discussing.

The modifications are rules for the Referee (which we dabbled with last year), and Working The Crowd. Both of them provide extra options for spending odd, leftover Action Points.

The Referee is effectively a piece of mobile, blocking terrain which both gladiators can move around in order to try and limit their opponent's movement.

Working The Crowd allows a gladiator to capitalise on their actions during the turn, and build up Favour. This can be spent to increase Action Points, allowing for a spectacular move as the crowd cheers you on, or to increase your chance of survival if you are forced to appeal to the crowd.

I adopted a Winner Stays On approach. First up was the axe-wielding barbarian Albia and the Secutor Priedens.

They slogged it out for a few turns, trading blow for blow and wound for wound, until Priedens used accumulated crowd-support to perform a neat sidestep and down Albia. She appealed to the crowd and was spared.

Priedens then faced the Myrmillo, Pugnax.

The referee appeared in this game, with Pugnax using him to cover his unshielded side from the slightly more agile Priedens. Priedens managed to knock away Pugnax's sword, but was still knocked down ...

... and knocked down again to give Pugnax the win. The crowd spared Priedens.

Pugnax now faced a Thraex, Lucius.

Again the referee put in an appearance. I don't have a proper lead one yet, so resorted once again to the Junior General site and made a temporary paper one. I say temporary; I'll probably use it for years.

Lucius wasn't a crowd favourite, and Pugnax soon knocked him down with his shield to win the bout. The crowd were happy to spare him, though.

The spear-armed Ellenikos was the next to face Pugnax.

A bold rush by Pugnax saw Ellenikos dispatched fairly briskly, although Ellenikos impressed the crowd more than enough for them to spare him.


With two-swords, Drusa was a dangerous foe for Pugnax to face. But he finished her off quite quickly. So quickly that I didn't make any notes about the bout, aside from recording that, once again, the crowd spared the defeated gladiator.

Time for a classic pairing - big, strong heavy Pugnax against the agile Retiarius, Medusa.

Pugnax never really got into this fight. Medusa dodged all of his attacks, then netted him. Although he cut free eventually, she had worked round behind him, and a trident thrust saw him mortally wounded.

Finally Medusa faced the sword-armed Margareites.

Both gladiators scored near-fatal criticals on each other early on, Medusa taking a deep sword-cut and Margareites being nearly strangled by her net. But Medusa was pulled off her feet, and Margareites scored a narrow victory. A single crowd-pleasing move early in the bout was just enough to sway the mob in favour of sparing her.

The new rules worked fairly well, offering more options without skewing the game too much in the favour of particular types of gladiator. The Crowd rules do give gladiators a slightly better chance of surviving an appeal, but that may have been just how these particular games panned out; all of the gladiators made decent appeal rolls, and only in the case of Medusa in the final bout was the possession of favour with the crowd actually the clincher. The Referee acted as a block a couple of times, but was fairly easy to work around and, to some extent, is a less attractive option on which to spent Action Points than working the crowd.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Napoleon At War - One Cavalry Commander's View

Pictures from our game tonight - a multiplayer game of Napoleon at War with French vs Austrians.

I had cavalry again.

We lined up an attack on some Austrian infantry coming over a hill. They formed square and we lost interest.

Then the Austrian cavalry turned up, and gave us all a kicking.

After an evening getting used to mechanisms I hadn't played before, and didn't entirely understand, I launched a final charge.

Into some Austrian light cavalry ...

... who evaded.

And that was it really.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

A Blast From The Past - Pichincha Refight

I was tidying up my PC today, and came across these pictures from 2003.  They are of a refight of the 1822 Battle of Pichincha, using 'Principles of War'. A lot of it was made up; I didn't have a detailed map or order of battle, but I seem to recall that the games was OK, even if PoW never really fitted the bill for this particular conflict.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

A Quickie In Venezuela

After a hard week at work, there's nothing like a quick game of Liberated Hordes to start the weekend off.

I randomly determined the makeup of the armies, and quality of generals, using the same method I used for the Venezuelan campaign I played last weekend. They ended up as:

Royalists - Average General (Strategist), 6 x Regular Infantry, 3 x Militia Infantry, 2 x Militia Llaneros, 1 x Militia Cavalry

Republicans - Good General - 1 x Regular Infantry, 8 x Militia Infantry, 1 x Militia Skirmishers, 1 x Regular Cavalry, 1 x Militia Artillery

I also gave both sides a chance on the bonus table I use for campaigns. The Royalists got two - a Flank March, which allowed them to bring on up to three elements on the enemy flank upon rolling a '6' for PIPs, and Allies, which gave them a bonus element of Llaneros.

On paper the Royalists really had everything going for them better troops, more cavalry and a flank march.They defended and threw away their general's Strategist bonus (which allows them to set up most of their army after that of the attacker) with a rather conventional deployment designed to seize a low ridge in front of their deployment area. However, with a strong force of regular infantry this was really no bad thing; the infantry could hold off their Republican counterparts until the cavalry arrived.

The Republicans concentrated their troops on one flank, aiming to go for a headlong charge at the Royalist line. Not a subtle plan.

The Royalists take the hill, as the Republicans advance.

On one flank the opposing cavalry fought each other. Most of the Royalist horse - the llaneros - made up the flank march. Would they arrive in time?

A skirmish in the woods on the other flank saw the Republican skirmishers routed.

As the Republicans closed to musketry range, the llaneros appeared behind their right flank.

The Republican general ordered his troops into a bayonet charge, aiming to overwhelm the Royalists with sheer enthusiasm before the llaneros hit their rear.

The Royalist left collapsed under the assault.

Royalist cavalry was now threatening both Republican flanks, but in the foreground the beleaguered artillery held off the attack and routed their opponents.

The Republicans pressed their advantage, routing more Royalist elements. On the far left of the picture the British Legion (the Republican's one regular element) routs a Royalist element with support from some militia.

A good roll for PIPs saw them able to form up infantry to meet the advancing llaneros. A volley drove off one of the elements, and the Royalist morale collapsed.

The end of the battle - the llaneros were held off with musketry, whilst the Royalist left had been pretty much driven from the field.

The Republicans won a 6-2 victory, losing an element of cavalry and one of skirmishers, to the Royalist losses of one llaneros, one cavalry, and four infantry. At the crisis point of the battle the Royalists were caught between spending PIPs to shore up their line, and using them to bring up the cavalry. There were never quite enough to do both. The Republicans managed to use even low PIP rolls to keep up the momentum of their attack. In fact they never used their general's Good rating to improve a PIP roll.

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