Saturday 20 July 2024

The Battle of Alton

I've played out the Battle of Alton a couple of times using my own Portable Wargame ECW rules, but thought it might be a fun game to try with 'For King & Parliament'. Imagine my surprise when I realised that the scenario I'd adapted to create mine was originally for that very game. HERE IT IS.

Needless to say that I couldn't leave it alone, and fiddled with it a little bit. I made the artillery pieces on both sides Field Guns, as I hadn't tried artillery yet and wanted something basic. In addition I kept the single edge of fortifications from my own adaptation, as a couple of the accounts I've read of the action talk about Royalist earthworks. The only other change I made was to increase the Royalist breakpoint to 50% of their medals to simulate their desperate defence. This helps (a little) to offset Parliament's superiority of both quality and numbers.

My forces are:


Lord Crawford - Commanding General - Brigade 1
Crawford’s Horse 1 - Raw Swedish - Dash 3 - Ammo 1 - Hits 2 - Save 8+
Crawford’s Horse 2 - Veteran Swedish - Dash 3 - Ammo 1 - Hits 2 - Save 6+

Colonel Boles - Colonel - Brigade 2 - Dashing
Bole’s Foot - Seasoned Standard - Ammo 3 - Hits 3 - Save 7+
Bole’s Conscripts - Raw Standard - Ammo 2 - Hits 3 - Save 8+
Oxford Conscripts - Raw Standard - Ammo 2 - Hits 3 - Save 8+
Artillery - Seasoned - Ammo 6 - Hits 1 - Save 7+

Medals - 18 x 0.5 = 9


William Waller - Commanding General - Brigade 1
London Trained Bands 1 - Seasoned Standard - Ammo 3 - Hits 3 - Save 7+
London Trained Bands 2 - Seasoned Standard - Ammo 3 - Hits 3 - Save 7+
Kentish Foot - Veteran Standard - Ammo 4 - Hits 3 - Save 6+
Commanded Shot - Seasoned Shot - Ammo 3 - Hits 2 - Save 7+
Artillery - Seasoned - Ammo 6 - Hits 1 - Save 7+_

Sir Arthur Haselrig - Colonel - Brigade 2
Haselrig’s Lobsters - Veteran Dutch Curassiers - Dash 6 - Ammo 2 - Hits 3 - Save 6+*
Waller’s Horse - Seasoned Dutch Curassiers (Small) - Dash 3 - Ammo 1 - Hits 1 - Save 7+*Other Horse - Seasoned Dutch - Dash 3 - Ammo 2 - Hits 3 - Save 7+

Medals - 23 x 0.4 = 9

Here's the setup with the Royalist defenders at the bottom and Waller's forces at the top. I used the setup from the original scenario.

The position after a couple of turns. Parliament are advancing but haven't sorted out their horse on the right. Haselrig's Lobsters are out of command on the right and, thanks to some terrible activations, haven't moved.

Another turn and Some units are within firing range. The Royalists open up as soon as they can, hoping to inflict hots on the advancing parliamentarian troops and blunt their attack a little. Every shot failed to hit. (Most of the Royalist foot is Raw, so can only use their limited ammo to fire at long range).

The first actual action was on the Royalist left with Crawford's veterans charging Waller's small unit of horse. They quickly routed them.

Crawford led his unit of raw horse into an attack on another unit of enemy horse, but they were held.

On the other flank the Royalist artillery was firing at the advancing enemy foot with little effect. The Oxford Conscripts were now locked in a desperate fight with one of the London Trained Bands.

Firing and fighting all along the line.

Crawford's unit of raw horse broke, and Haselrig's horse pursued.

Parliament's commanded shot had managed very little and were quickly disordered by a crashing volley from Bole's Foot.

Waller led the other London Trained band in an attack on the Royalist artillery position and quickly overwhelmed the guns.

They took up positions around Alton Church in the Royalist rear. This left the Royalists in a very difficult position.

Unsupported, the Oxford Conscripts broke and fled. The Royalists were now a unit away from breaking, saved only by the 50% break limit I'd given them.

The position at the crisis of the battle. The Royalists would need to do something clever to win this one.

Lord Crawford had gone off in search of his veteran horse. They had rallied from their pursuit and, thanks to some direct leadership rolled a blinding series of activations, coming straight back down onto the flank of the veteran Kentish Foot ...

... and charging them! Sadly they failed to score any hits, but it now put Parliament back under pressure.

With the London Trained Bands in his rear Colonel Boles led his foot in a wild charge against the commanded shot in front of him, scattering them. 

Haselrig brought his horse back into the battle.

The fight continued with little effect until Boles led his men in a second charge against the veteran Kentish Foot, and broke them as well.

Parliament was now one unit from breaking. The Royalists formed a new line at 90 degrees to their first, whilst Parliament tried to reorganise as well. Haselrig's Lobsters now finally entered the fight, threatening Bole's Foot.

Meanwhile Crawford and Haselrig clashed in a duel.

The Lobsters charged Bole's Foot, inflicting some disorder but failing to break them.

The end came from the village of Alton, with the London Trained Band finally getting its act together and attacking Bole's Conscripts. A frontal assault had failed to dislodge the Royalist troops, but the Trained Bands fell back and managed to work around the flank. Their charge was enough to break the Royalist foot and, with them, the entire force.

The final position. The Royalists had put up a good fight but were very much on borrowed time for the last couple of turns. However they had opportunities to break one last Parliamentarian unit and clinch a win, so the issue was in doubt until the very end.

This was a tight and dramatic fight. To be honest I think if a Parliamentarian player knows what they are doing they should win every time, but the Royalists might be able to pull off a victory if they can inflict some early disorders on the attackers. The artillery seems to be the weak link in their defence; a bold Parliamentarian attack should sweep it away and open up a hole in the enemy line. That's what happened here, certainly.

Friday 19 July 2024

Zombie Bash!

Last night was Bailey's last regular visit to the Wollongong Wargamers, so he requested one last game of Gaslands. I though we'd try something a bit different, so despite knowing what vehicle I was going to use I decided that instead of rolling for a scenario we'd simply play the Zombie Bash. We haven't done that one for ages.

I picked up the Martians version of the Zombies boardgame on a bring and buy a few months ago, so had a pile of little plastic figures we could use. They're not zombies but previously we'd only used coloured counters, so it was certainly an improvement.

We'd been promised that Bailey's partner Laura was going to come along and play, so I was ready for a four-player game. Laura turned up but they decided they weren't up to learning a new game, so just cheered from the sidelines. That left three of us playing:

June, running a three vehicle Maxxine team consisting of the buggy, Milly, a car, Molly and a bike, Jenkins

Bailey, running his single Idris car, The Shimmer

Me, running the Mishkin sponsored Yellow Submarine.

Here we are set up and ready to go. This was a scenario set in the wasteland rather than an arena, so I mostly used my 'normal' terrain.

In this scenario your team collects zombies by driving over them. There's various conditions that end the game, at which pint you count up the total you've collected and highest wins. If a vehicle is wrecked you have to place five zombies around the wreck. So whilst June had the advantage of three vehicles for collecting zombies with, she also had the problem that if any were wrecked she could potentially lose a lot of the team's haul.

The Yellow Submarine whizzed around collecting zombies.

We all headed for the centre. I was keen to fire some weapons as this was the only way to pick up the audience votes I needed to help with hazard management after I started using my teleporter.

Bailey's car got dragged into the stream by the harpoon on June's Molly. She then broght in the buggy to machine-gun it.

The Yellow Submarine was harpooned next, and stuck facing the possibility of a collision with the spikey sides of Molly.

The same situation? No. This was after my move. I used the teleported to moved directly backwards so that my normal move put me back in the same place. I then got to shoot at June's car, using a few exotic weapons to rack up some audience votes. The primary one I used was The Thumper, which causes other vehicles to flip. So much fun.

The Shimmer chased after June's bike, Jenkins. This motorised penny-farthing is mostly scratch-built.

June's buggy had a serious run-in with the one building on the field of play, colliding with it, flipping over it, spinning and colliding with it again. It was spectacular to watch but not very healthy in terms of hits on the vehicle.

The Yellow Submarine was zipping around enthusiastically, teleporting to line up good zombie pickups. In passing it fired at Jenkins, inflicting damage with its guns ...

... and then seeing the bike flip to destruction at the hand of The Thumper.

By the rock in the centre you can see the pile of zombies that the bike deposited. June turned Milly to go and collect them. June ran a spectacular game, missing zombies by a hairs-breadth on every move with all three vehicles. But we were all building up a collection.

I decided to take the Yellow Submarine through some woods.

Milly took a shot at The Shimmer and scored a spectacular six hits by rolling a triple six. This left The Shimmer looking pretty bedraggled.

The Shimmer scooped up some zombies but found itself running head on towards Molly. With both vehicles travelling at high speed the end was inevitable; they demolished each other.

This left a big pile of ten additional zombies on the board. Milly turned to scoop them up.

There were currently only two vehicles in play, and the game would end if only one were left. I reasoned that if I could take out Milly before Bailey could respawn I could end the game, force June to lose five zombies from her total and win with my total of ten. But I needed to zoom into a decent weapon range, then fire up my Eureka perk (which allows me to count as having any one weapon in the game for one shot only) as an anti-tank gun and hit her with a massive 8D6 attack. I zoomed OK, but had misjudged the range (no pre-measuring allowed) and couldn't fire. But in closing into range I'd gone over the hazard limit and wiped out. I flipped and, with a nuclear engine, that means automatic destruction!

So I lost my vehicle and five zombies, leaving June with the lone vehicle (albeit that it was on its last hit). She had nine zombies to my five, so won! Bailey currently had no zombies.

This was June's first Gaslands win, and well-deserved. And it was fun to try this scenario again; I'm not sure we've played it under the latest edition of the rules. It offers a different set of challenges to the arena scenarios we've done up until now.

Wednesday 17 July 2024

For King & Parliament

Around six years ago I had a chance to play For King & Parliament. I enjoyed it, but had someone else explaining the game to me as I went, so didn't really entirely get my head around the mechanisms.

I actually have a copy of the rules, but had never really given them much of a read in the intervening time. And I tended to be focused on other, shorter and simpler rules.

But the other day I got out For King & Parliament again and gave it a full read. I think on previous attempts I found that, whilst I could see how the core mechanisms worked, I couldn't quite pull it all together. This time I decided I was going to read it with a view to actually trying out a game.

On Saturday I gridded out a 3' x 2' cloth with 3" squares, which fit my paper figures. Last night I set up and played a game.

Here's the two armies I selected arrayed for battle, Parliament on the left and the Royalists on the right. Terrain was randomised. Parliament got a nice long ridge in their deployment zone, so set up their foot on it.

The armies were equal in terms of units; four foot, five horse and one dragoon each side. The Royalist horse were seasoned Swedish whilst that or Parliament were raw Dutch. Parliament's foot was shot-heavy, whilst that of the Royalists was standard. The dragoons of both sides were raw.

Here's teh position after a couple of turns. Parliament decided to stay put, but did organise some horse (bottom right) whose deployment was hindered by a wood. The Royalists are advancing slowly; their foot was deployed in a block at the start and had to manuever into a line.

The first combat! On their right Parliament charged in with their horse. The Royalist horse counter-charged, which actually makes them the attacker. It took a few reads through a couple of sections to work out the combat, but I got there in the end.

The Royalists scored two hits! (They rolled more dice than this, but these are the ones that hit_. The Parliamentarian horse promptly saved both of them. In fact this particular unit would save regularly throughout the game.

A view of the general cavalry fight on Parliament's right. The stones show its on units.

A view along the board - the horse on the other flank were now also engaged, as were the dragoons in the fields at the very top of the picture. The dragoons would skirmish ineffectually all game.

Parliament had pushed one foot unit forward to support its horse on the left, and it was pounced on by Royalist foot. It hovered on the edge of breaking for ages, with teh Royalists unable to quite finish it off.

The first actual casualty was a unit of horse on Parliament's left, along with teh brigade's colonel.

The Royalists also lost a unit of horse on their left. 

Horse began to disappear on both flanks. On the Royalist right they still had both of their units in play, but they were also both engaged in an uncontrolled pursuit.

A view of the battle. The horse of both sides had thinned out on the flanks, with most of the survivors engaged in pursuits. In the centre the infantry lines had closed up and furious musketry was taking place.

One Royalist foot unit was demolished by multiple double-volleys from a Parliamentarian unit on the hill.

A surviving Royalist horse unit is charged in the flank. But it survived.

A push of pike saw one of Parliament's foot units rout.

The flanked Royalist unit not only survived the attack, but was able to turn and charge, routing its attacker. That was enough losses to break Parliament's troops, although the Royalists were pretty much one unit from breaking themselves.

The foot were still holding on in the centre, although a couple of units were looking shaky.

It took me about an hour to set things up and draw up the army lists, then just over two hours to play. I had to look a lot of things up, and I'm not sure I did everything correctly, but once I got going the rules were relatively smooth. 

You'll note that I used dice throughout instead of cards. I just found it easier, although there is something more elegant about playing cards.

It was a lot of work to play, but I enjoyed it and it gave a nicely unpredictable game. I may try a smaller action next time though.

I did find a couple of things that were unclear. Maybe I need another read:

(i) The rules state that a roll of '1' is an automatic failure. But it doesn't seem to be clearly stated what the target number of a unit's first roll of the turn is. I assume that you have to roll 2 or more, subject to all applicable modifiers.

(ii) There is an activation penalty if a move is through rough terrain. Does this apply both  if the unit moves into the square with the terrain and again/also if it wants to move out? I assumed so. So you are penalised if you enter a wood, but are also penalised if you start in the woods and move out.

(iii) There's mention of units that pursue off the table being able to come back, but I couldn't find how this is resolved. In my game the battle ended before they had a chance anyway, but I could see it being an issue in future games.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...