Thursday, 18 August 2016

Battle Report: Fall of Port Arthur

No matter how much you rub your chin, we won't win this...
Sad news from the front!  The Siege of Port Arthur, Supercampaign V, is finally at an end!  Last night, Ollie, Kieran, Mike and I got together to enact Paul's final campaign order.  1st Division was ordered to storm the defences of the Russians and force an end to the siege.  An explainatory note - Hill 203 fell in September 1904, and since then pressure has steadily been applied.  The Russians were on the brink of starvation, but still inexplicably refused to surrender, forcing Paul's hand to a final assault.

We fought a 2mm game to determine how long the Russians could hold on for - not long, as it turned out.  After three turns the defences collapsed and most of the defenders fell back towards the town.  However, with a cunning but risky flank march, the Japanese managed to sieze the town with a bloodless coup de main.  We then fought a quick 28mm Trench Raiders game to decide what happened to the dramatis personae when the Russian HQ was overrun!

Sunday, 31 July 2016

28mm Imperial Russian Officers

Senior officers of the 3rd Guards Brigade - (l. - r.) Col. Hartmann, Maj. Gen. Maximov, and Col. Voronov.

Things are going very ACW-heavy at the moment, despite the fact we actually have a very enjoyable Supercampaign in progress.  This pits Ollie and KB against the valiant Paul, as the Russian and Japanese commanders respectively.  Full updates will follow, but to spice things up I thought I'd share some pictures of a few 28mm models I've been working on.  These are mainly one offs, to use as momentos for the players, but I suspect that there will also be a game of Trench Raiders in the offing, so they can also be used for that.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The Battle of Chickamauga

After last week's look at the Two Splendid Lines rules, we re-fought another of the 4th Texas' battles last night.  We attacked the infamous Viniard Farm, held by the Federals under Brig. Gen. Carlin.  This battle was the first after the reeorganisation, with Ollie promoted to colonel and taking command, Mike as lieutenant-colonel, and myself as the Texas Brigade's commander.

This was the first game after TSL had a fairly extensive re-write to make it simpler and easier to play - although I don't think it affected the game too much, since it played very much like our previous engagements.


Friday, 15 July 2016

Two Splendid Lines - 6mm ACW rules

Eons ago, I wrote a post about a wargameI was writing called Two Splendid Lines.  It was an ACW game whose aims were:
  • To recreate regimental level combat at roughly 1:1 scale, in 6mm or 2mm
  • To be highly realistic, capturing the realities and challenges of line warfare
  • To be playable and simple
Not too ambitious then!  After six months rigorous playtesting (as part of Supercampaign IV: Hood's Stalwarts), it's almost finished.  I thought I'd share a preview of it and see if anyone was interested in a copy once they're done.

Conducting some field research on charges.  We do get into character a little bit - and these rules allow us to do that by using period methods of commanding troops.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Battle Report: Attack on 203-Metre Hill

Today, I thought I'd share another epic battle report from our Russo-Japanese War campaign, which is being fought between Kieran and Ollie on the Russian side, and Paul on the Japanese side.  I'm a (almost) completely unbiased umpire doubling as the Russian strategic commander.  Mike stood in as the Japanese commander on the ground, and Paul gave his orders by email.

So far, the campaign has consisted of patient sapping activity, punctuated by short bursts of intense combat, against a backdrop of attritional artillery fire.  The Japanese have been preparing an assault on 203-Metre Hill with great patience, and after seven weeks, the battle can begin!


Saturday, 18 June 2016

The War Drobe: Full Immersive Gaming

The jackets, including ACW, RJW, WWII, ECW...
My recent posts have included a few shots of what I like to call our War Drobe.  In my games room, there's a small cupboard which houses all our various costumes we use for realistic supercampaign gaming.  They've attracted some comments (not to mention a few stares from the unenlightened) so I thought I'd allay the rumours and newspaper speculation with some pictures.

This all started when I decided to get into reenacting - I started with the American Civil War (which I don't do any more), and now I do English Civil War.  I think reenacting and wargaming go together quite well; a lot of the rules I write factor in lessons I've learned from reenacting.  For example, I now know that wheeling is, in practice, an incredibly difficult manoeuvre to pull off.  This ties in with my reading on the subject - so now, in Two Splendid Lines, any unit attempting a wheel rolls two 'mishap' dice.

Of course, with hats and jackets to hand it was only a matter of time before they were worn for wargaming... and it grew from there.  Part of the fun is making a new uniform cheaply - very few of these are bought 'as is' from a reenacting supplier.  Most start out life as old-fashioned jackets and blazers from second-hand shops, with some buttons sewn on.  They're not very realistic up close, but they only cost about £10 - £15 and make gaming a lot more fun.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Supercampaign V - Battle of the Shu-Shihung Gap

Appropriately dressed for any occasion!
Very exciting news as I can today report our first game in Supercampaign V: Doomed but Defiant.  This is a participation Supercampaign following the Siege of Port Arthur in 1904, in what is now China.  We're all very honoured to have Paul of The Man Cave fame joining in as the Japanese commander, giving orders by email.

We're fighting this campaign out in near real time over a number of months.  Expect further updates as the siege progresses!  The story so far - the Japanese have surrounded the town and are pounding it with artillery fire.  The Russians are taking unsustainable losses, and so decide to exploit a small gap in the Japanese circumvellations to launch a raid.

On a technical note, this is the first 'distance wargame' I've played.  It's essentially a solo NPC game, I just stay in regular turn-by-turn contact with the players, who give me broad orders via Whatsapp.  I'd love to hear if anyone has ever tried anything like this before.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Historical Picture: Before the Battle

In a tribute to our recent (tactical Phyrric) victory at Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg, Jane Dunn has done it again with another fantastic picture.  She doesn't usually do military pictures but has helped us out on numerous occasions - this is now our group's fourth picture.

Expertly combining a rough photograph of Ollie and me with a real-world picture of Lee and Longstreet, she has captured the moment the colonel and lieutenant-colonel of the 4th Texas return to their regiment on the evening of July 1st, having just received their orders to assault the Federal position the next day.  I think the picture speaks for itself.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Battle of Gettysburg

We've been following the 4th Texas Infantry through every engagement of the American Civil War.  From a minor scrap with McClellan's Peninsular army a year ago, we're now in Pensylvannia fighting the infamous Battle of Gettysburg - the war's bloodiest engagement, and one which would later come to represent the 'High Water Mark of the Confederacy'.

For this battle, we were representing part of the Texas Brigade's assault up Little Round Top, through the boulder-strewn Devil's Den.  We are using 6mm Baccus figures, and my own home-brew rules called Two Splendid Lines.

Special mention is also due to Dan and Michael (both members of our SB5 gaming group).  They let us use their newly-converted attic for the inagural game!  Here's to many more...

Battle Report