Wednesday, 13 January 2021

ECW Snakes And Ladders - Part 2

I'm not going to explain the whole background to this campaign - you can read that in PART 1.

At the end of the last part the Royalists had initiated a skirmish on a battlefield with a small village at its centre. This evening I played it out.

Here's where I left it, with the Royalists at the bottm of the picture and Parliament at the top.

In fact I made one change. I was persuaded by another that for a battle this small there was unlikey to be much in the way of artillery - in my PW rules it represents a reasonable amount of the stuff - so I swapped it for a unit of dragoons, who ended up trained.

And you can see them here. The Royalists got the initiative, and as the Parliamentarian foot advanced down the road, the dragoons seized the village.

Early stages. Parliament's foot was thrown back from the village by shooting from the dragoons. Their horse charged the Royalists.

The Royalist veteran horse found themselves being outfought by a bunch of newly recruited farmers on old nags. 

They brought up their own newly-recruited horse in support to try and stabilise things. On the other flank Parliament sent their reserve horse into the village, catching the defenders by surprise and inflicting casualties on them.

The Royalists coudn't shift Parliament's horse, who quickly broke the Royalist veterans.

Only then did the Royalists manage to drive off Parliament's horse, but casualties were mounting and the Royalists were forced to make a breay test.

Despite holding the village, they failed, giving Parliament the win.

Since the Royalists had initiated the action there was no change on the board. 

Action moved back to the board. Parliament rolled a 3 and simply advanced along the third row. The Royalists also rolled a 3, which saw them best by bad weather delaying their march, and caused them to drop down a row.

On Parliament's next turn they rolled a 6, which saw them advance to a battle square. This would possibly have six units per side, and if Parliament won would give them a five square advance, putting them very close to the top row and a finish.

And these are the forces. I will go through them in detail in the next post, but the game will see a strong force of Royalist foot facing a Parliamentarian force made up almost entirely of horse. The battlefield is dominated by a village and a manor house. It could be an interestig - if short - game.


Tuesday, 12 January 2021

ECW Snakes And Ladders - Part 1

Many moons ago (although maybe not too many) Peter over at Grid-Based Wargaming posted an idea for a campaign system based on Snakes & Ladders. "What a great idea", I thought, then promptly forgot about it. But someone else - and you'll have to forgive me because I forget who - reminded me of it just before Christmas, and I'd had it tickling away at the back of my mind as a possible project with which to kick-start the year.

So this evening I gave it a go.

I decided to do an ECW campaign, since I fancied getting my Portable Wargame rules out. I  dew up this board. My graphical talents are nowhere near as good as Peter's, so my board lacks actual arrows showing the 'snakes' and 'ladders' and the square simply tells you to move up or down. Both sides move a counter along the track according to the rolll of a D6. If you hit a ladder you go up and if you hit a snake you go down. If you reach one of the double-sized battle squares then you fight and action and the moving player gets a free move afterwards if they win. If a side reaches the last battle square then the Final Battle is fought, with the side that triggered it getting an advantage. So it's worth being the first to get there.

So here we are at the start, with the Royalists in blue and Parliament in red. 

The Royalists went first, with a '1', which saw them simply recruit the army on the first square. Parliament responded with a '2'; their army was enthusiastic and went up a row.

A Royalist '5' simply saw them progress along the track. Parliament's roll was always going to land them on a Battle square. So a Battle it was, with a three square advance for Parliament if they won.

The earlier a battle is on the grid the fewer potential units there are. This one had five units per side. Both sides rolled 5D6 to determine what the units were. a 1-2 was a Foot unit, a 3-4 a unit of Horse, a 5 eitehr Artillery or Dragoons and the first 6 rolled meant that the side didn't get a unit, but could upgrade the quality of one of the other ones after checking for quality. For that was the next stage - a 2D6 roll for quality of each individual unit (2-5 Raw, 6-9 Trained, 10-12 Veteran, and a -1 modifier for the first 3 battles). Any further rolls of 6 would be rerolled.

Parliament rolled four Horse, and one upgrade. The horse were all Trained except for one which rolled Raw. I opted to upgrade that to Trained as well.

The Royalists rolled five units - three Horse and two Foot, one of which was determined, by an entirely arbitrary roll, to be all-pike. Both foot and one of the Horse were Raw, and the otehr two Horse trained. 

I generated the battlefield randomly. I dice for each section of four squares on my 8 x 8 grid, with a 5 or 6 indicating terrain. I have some cards with terrain layouts marked on them, covering one, two or three squares, and one is randomly assigned to such a group. I ended up with this terrain, and deployed the armies. Parliament was outnumbered, but had a slight edge in terms of quality. They massed their troops on one flank, mostly avoiding the Royalist foot and hoping to drive off the Royalist horse for the win.

The Royalists started strongly, advancing their whole force. I used a mashup of the original ECW Portable Wargame initiative rolls (with random events) and the one I was trying for the ACW the other day. It was a mess. I won't do it again. In future games I'll jut use the ECW method as is. Parliament got off to a bad start when a squadron of horse deserted straight away (one of their units took a hit).

Parliament had one unit of horse screening the infantry, and, seeing an open flank, it went for it. The infantry fended them off, and Parliament took some more casualties.

The horse clashed. Parliament had now benefitted from a random event, with their commander's unit getting a bonus in combat this turn - a rousing speech as they went in, maybe. Or a fervent prayer.

The Royalists were driven back.

The Royalist foot used musketry to drive one of Parliament's horse units back, though, allowing the Royalist horse it was facing to turn and attack the main force of Parliamentarian foot in the flank. 

They swept the unit away, and engaged the next one.

The foot advanced to prevent other Parliamentarian foot coming up in support.

A wild melee developed, with charge and counter-charge. The Royalists wisely kept their raw horse away from the fight at this stage, since it had already taken one hit.

The foot now closed on a lone unit of Parliamentarian horse, which found itself pinned.

A Parliamentarian counter-attack routed a unit of Royalist horse, but Parliament's loses were now such that they had to take a break test. They failed, and the battle was lost.

The Royalists gained nothing for their win, but Parliament was denied a chance to advance three spaces.

The Ryalists rolled on the board next, and a '5' meant that they triggered a skirmish, with four units a side.

The terrain saw a village in the centre of the board, which I made an objective. 

The Royalists got a unit of trained foot, some artillery (always trained) and some horse, one raw and one veteran.

Parliament was opposing them with a unit of trained foot and three units of horse, two raw and one trained. 

I have set up this game and will fight it tomorrow.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Salem Church

I thought I'd best do some proper miniature wargaming today, and went back to a project I was messing around with before Cristmas (which I don't think I blogged, as it really was just messing around). I played around with a few ideas for an American Civil War Portable Wargame for a while, but the last time I did some, back at the end of 2018, I'd had a few ideas for it, using a variant of the 'Single Hit Kills' system, where a nit could become shaken instead of simply being eliminated. You can read it HERE

One feature of the system is that there is no close combat where both sides roll to hit the other. All combat is shooting, with that at close range being considered a 'charge' and having certain advantages. This 'shooting only' approach is lifted from some of the Neil Thomas OHW sets.

In addition I had an idea for yet another initiative system. This is pretty simply; a side roll a number D6 equal to the number of units they have. Every dice that rolls a 4+ gives the side an activation. A side gets a free activation if they still have an active commander. I thought it gave a little ore unpredictabiity than the N+1, N, N-1 system I've been using. Sides simply alternate in this version; there's not chance that a side will go second in one turn and then first in the next.

Anyway, I set up a portable version of  the 1863 Battle of Salem Church that I'd played a couple of times before.

The Union (bottom of the picture) had six infantry units and a couple of artillery. The Confederates (top of picture) fielded five infantry and an artillery. Both sides had a commander, obviously.

I made the church an objective, which meant that if a side held it when they rolled for rout they would get a bonus.

The Union advanced on the church, and in the woods on their right. They were also able to bring up a unit from their second line in support.

They advanced strongly in the woods, forcing the Confederates back.

The Confederates did occupy the church, but were soon driven back.

On the Union left there was some desultory skirmishing in the woods, but both sides only had so many activations to spare and not much happened here.

Fighring intensified around the church, as the Confederates consolidated their position in the centre.

They also started to hold their ground on their left, holding the Union attack there. And they destroyed a Union infantry unit too.

Another attack on the church.

An aerial shot with some cotton-wool smoke. The battle was pretty stable at this stage, with The Union not making any more headway.

Then their unit in front of the church was destroyed. The commander fled to the supporting infantry unit, but was shot by the next volley. 

I allowed a side to replace their commander at the end of their next tur, at the cost of one activation, but obviously this is something of a cost when you have to lose one free ativation and still spend another in order to do it. 

Actually it seemed to inspire the Union, who finally managed to eliminate a Confederate unit on their right.

But before they could exploit their advantage a Confederate unit advaced across the front of the church and hit them in the flank, eliminating them.

This isolated another unit onthat flank which was destroyed when it couldn't retreat.

This was enough to break the Union army. 

Anyway, it was a fun workout for the rules. I'll give it a try with some other setups and see if I really like they way they're progressing. The initiative system did pretty much what you'd expect, by the way - a side got to move half of their units. Obviously what it offers is the danger of you not getting to move any - or the pleasure of being able to move them all. But it's low effort and intuitive, so I'll stick with it for now.

Friday, 8 January 2021

Giro di Sardegna - Part 2

Welcome back sports fans! This is the second, and final, post of our Flamme Rouge 'Tour of Sardinia'. You can find Part 1 HERE, which has links to the source of the maps and so forth, as well as how we've run the thing. 

When we left off, the Red team (Peleton bots) was well in the lead on points, with my Blue team a distant second. Catherine was closing up on me with her Green team, whilst the Black team (ordinary bots) languished at the bottom.

Course 4 starts off with a nice long flat section, but then goes into a series of ascednts and descents. Some god timing and positioning on the run from Guspini to Ingurtosu could see someone cruise through relatively easily, by using the momentum from the first descent to skip over the second ascent. A fina descent gives a nice run to the finish.

Depite starting at the back of the grid, Red got off to a flying start. Catherine and I played more cautiously, hoping to pick up some slipstreaming momentum.

And there wasn't much change when we got further along in the race.

On the run to the first ascent, Red and Black both had riders break away.

But they were quickly caught. 

The tricky jostling for position on the first asent began.

I messed it up and didn't come off the hills how I'd hoped. But Catherine ended up with her rouleur completely isolated from the rest of the riders and really struggling.

One more asent and a short run to the finish, and I was stuck at the back of the pack. This was not looking good.

It looked like Red was going to win this again ...

... and did.

But I didn't take pictures of the next turn, which saw my rouleur manage a final dash through the pack to nab a cheeky fourth place! Catherine finished in fifth and eighth place.

So not a good race for either of us. we just couldn't break out of the pack and set up a run, or manage the right positioning on the hills.

At the end of Stage 4 the individual scores were:

Red 'Sprinteur' - 26pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 26pts
Blue Sprinteur - 18pts
Blue Rouleur - 17pts
Green Sprinteur - 17pts
Green Rouleur - 14pt
Black Sprinteur - 19pts
Black Rouleur - 8pts

Team totals were:

Red - 52pts
Blue - 35pts
Green - 31pts
Black - 26pts

The final stage loked set to provide some drama. With one small hill a third of the way along it was otherwise a flat course for sprinting.

So a race for conserving energy and then saving yourself for a final dash. It would all be about position and timing. 

Once again Red got out in front, although only with a sigle rider.

The other Red rider slowly caught up. The rest of the pack josted for position as we left the first flat section and headed for the one hill.

Red took the hill with ease, whilst everyone else struggled a bit, trying to conserve energy for the final dash.

Off the hill, and the pack were in hot pursuit of the Red team, who were losing ground a little now as their decent cards ran out.

We were within one or two moves of the finish now - if you had decent cards saved up. I did.

So did Black. So did Catherine. 

But my sprinteur had what it took to just edge over the line ahead  of  the Black and Green sprinteurs

On the next turn my rouleur, who had a bad card draw on the previous turn, found his stride and swept over the line for a fourth place. Red ended up at the back, having nothing left in the tank after their earlier fast run.

And so the final scores!

Red 'Sprinteur' -  27pts
Red 'Rouleur' - 29pts
Blue Sprinteur - 26pts
Blue Rouleur - 22pts
Green Sprinteur - 21pts
Green Rouleur - 20pt
Black Sprinteur - 14pts
Black Rouleur - 21pts

Team totals were:

Red - 56pts
Blue - 48pts
Green - 41pts
Black - 35pts

So a win for the Red 'rouleur' (the Peleton team doesn't have individual roles, but it was the rouleur model), and the Red team overall. I was please to take third place with my sprinteur; sprinteurs have a tough time of it in this game, needing much better hand management and some support from the rouleur to be really effective.

Really keen to try a tour like this with three or four players now. The bot teams are OK, but the chaos of real human decisions would be much more fun.

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