Friday 31 May 2019

Rank and File Wargames Rules.

John my longstanding arch enemy and rule expert staged a Malburian game last week using a set of rules we hadnt used for a long time. The rules, Rank and File sold by Crusader Miniatures was set we had tried when they first came out and then simply discounted them and moved back to Black Powder.
   Luckily John returned to them and used them in his big game. The rules worked well even with all the figures being on one base representing one regiment which made things a bit fiddly as we recorded the causalities.
Anyway yesterday we again played Rank and File, but this time using some of my Seven Years War collection which being based in six individual groups lent itself perfectly to the rules as following a unit receiving causalities one simply removed a base whilst recording any carry overs. 
 My French army prior to deployment consisting of three foot brigades and two cavalry brigades. Below is the Austrians prior to deployment, I generously allowed them better quality light troops and cuirassiers. Big mistake.
 Once deployed I realised that John had clearly seen a copy of my master plan and had deployed in a mirror image to my French.[ Just joking] I had attached a regiment of Austrian hussars to John's command, these turned out to be a giant mistake during the battle.

 Below one can see the French cavalry hanging about amongst the trees hoping they wouldnt have to fight.
  We each had one veteran/elite brigade. John's were combined grenadiers, mine were Irish and one regiment of Grenadiers. Unfortunately John had a proliferation of grenzer who lived up to their reputation of ferocious fighters.
                              Nothing to worry about here, just Austrian line regiments.
The grenzer from the Austrian crack brigade caused havoc for my Grenadiers who after losing a morale throw and the subsequent re roll as befits a veteran unit, simply ran back disordering the Irish behind them!
 I was having better luck in the centre where my foreign brigade of Swedes and Italians were holding back the Austrians and managing to actually kill some as they did so.
 The beginning of the end for my French. John sent forward his hussars and one unit of cuirassiers, I countered with my cuirassier regiments.
 Now one would think hussars would simply be run over by my heavier cuirassiers. I certainly expected carnage. Well it didnt work like that and by some very poor throwing my cuirassiers were disgraced and pushed back. Not once but twice!!!Similarly John's Austrain cuirassiers absolutely wiped the floor with my lightweight cavalry.
John was more cautious in the centre and I tried to exploit his lack of cavalry by pulling my second cavalry brigade to support the centre. 

 As my cuirassiers ran, the Austrians began to turn inwards towards my exposed veteran brigade. Using his dragoons he charged into my deployed Irish who should have been expected to stand and cause the cavalry serious causalities. Their volley was pathetic! Again poor throwing caused them to recoil in disorder. They retired behind a second Irish regiment that was unable to deploy into line in time as they were hit by cavalry.

The yellow tokens indicate that my units had thrown their additional rally throws in order not to become disordered. Sadly I failed every re roll!

Who wouldnt charge into the exposed flank of a stationary regiment? I somehow managed to survive the first charge, but the second charge forced the Irish to retreat.

With the retreat of my best troops it allowed the Austrian cuirassiers to advance, all I had to stop them was a unit of French Dragoons. They didn't last long sadly.

 Releasing one of my reserve cavalry regiments I charged into the weakened and disordered triumphant Austrian dragoons. Pay back time. All I needed to cause causalities was anything but a one. What could go wrong?

Below was the answer. 
My revenge charge failed spectacularly. They had bought a bit of time which allowed my Irish to reform and although weakened at least look like a decent line.
Marshal Saxe looks on in disbelief. He was as good as a chocolate fireguard.
 On the right wing the French had managed to keep the Austrian in check but attempting to force the issue I charged in with my remaining infantry who received fire from three! regiments throwing 11 dice. It was a desperate attempt which naturally ended in tears. The regiment received 5 hits, enough to force a morale which I naturally failed. At least I was consistent.

 The reader can sense that things hadnt gone too well for the French. Originally we had planned to introduce additional reserve brigades as the causalities mounted. Rank and File can be bloody and we expected to need to replace the destroyed units. Surprisingly the battle lasted longer than expected, and the French didnt collapse for several hours. As a battle it was tense but fun. [really]
  Rank and File provided a great game with a lot of friction for both players. Nothing is guaranteed, the commanders of which I lost two due to combat can assist a unit in a morale situation but dont have the influence that they have in Black Powder which somehow added to the battle.
 The principles are simple and I understood the basics after a couple of moves. The rules worked really well for the Seven Years War period and gave a better feel for the period than their rivals Black Powder. I will use them again when using my armies and I have replaced my dice.

French heavy cavalry painted by the great Tony Runkee. Sadly they may look good but they fight like girls.

 I found these chaps hidden amongst my spare generals. I had forgotten I had painted them, thye are Breton volunteer light troops.
                                        And how I felt at the end of the game. Another drubbing.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

The English Civil War gathers pace.

Well Ive managed to crack a few Royalist regiments off somehow. Normally I do one of each side at a time but I recently bought some old pre painted Hinchliffe figures from Ian Hinds that looked royalist. Most of the figures were only averagely painted but they did contain some real gems amongst them that I barely repainted because they were very good.
            So the next few images are a step back in time again for any wargamer of a certain age.

The standard bearers and drummer were amongst the stuff from Ian Hinds, yes they are Mini Figs, but they are very nice figures and were really well painted.

Similarly in Tilliers Regiment, the Mini Fig officer was just too nice to repaint, although I did bring a bit more colour to his pants and boots.
These are all my own work and are the second of Rupert's horse regiments. I managed to purchase a few extra riders from the Foremost range, 'Rupert's Charge' off E Bay at a good price. So it would have been rude not to paint them up. I now have three regiments using figures from 'Rupert's Charge.'

John was given an old Mini Fig Royalist officer way back in the 1980's and part painted him before chucking him in his spares box. He gave me him a couple of weeks ago. Anyway he is now in charge of the Royal Standard. The foot figures was another Mini Fig from my purchase at York back in February. Yes they are a tad stunty but I really like them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. 

Finally a couple of commanded shot units made up of Mini Figs, again from the purchases back in February. Historically too well equipped, but I like them a lot.
In the background is some of my newly painted fencing bought on Sunday, courtesy of Rubicon Models, and very nice it was to paint.

Monday 20 May 2019

Partizan. 2019.

Well yesterday was Partizan, and John and I made the long drive south to sample its delights.
 Unfortunately my air con has packed in so we were a tad warm by the time we tipped up to the airfield. I dont think we were as whiffy as some of the other wargamers whose whiff count climbed towards 11 as the temperatures rose in the large hall but we were hot and not in a good way.
  I dont doubt there will be a lot of images from the show so I will attempt to review the show from another angle if possible but with pictures.  [So really a review]
 Partizan for me has overtaken Salute for the quality of the demonstration games that are on show and this year was better than ever.
 The actual show is divided into demo games, ie. the more mainstream historical 'biggish games, a 'history' zone where various historical societies ply their wares and knowledge and the 'participation' zone where the smaller card table sized games [in the main] can be played.
 All the games were of a high standard and some were just plain eye candy and a great incentive to me.
 Trade wise the organisers attempt to provide a wide spectrum of scales, periods and the odd different trader. All seemed busy which is a good sign. Being of a certain age and now entering veteran status as a wargamer I shouldn't need to use the traders much, but as usual I spent and then spent again and I really dont know on what.
 The one thing I had wanted was a couple of unusual ECW infantry standards which I managed to lose by the time I returned home. It could have been worse having once put my car keys in the fridge for a day but it was so annoying.
 Parking is directly outside of the building and is free. The food is plentiful and not badly priced although the inevitable sausage sandwich wasnt up to the usual standard. Basically Partizan is just about all you need for a wargames show.
My only complaint was the 'dont photograph me' badges. I still bridle when I see the large posters reminding camera users that not everyone wants photographing and these people can obtain stickers to tell the said photographers that they are off limits. What is that about?
 To be very honest, being an awkward so and so if I did see someone sporting a 'dont photograph me' badge I would make certain that they were captured on camera. Perhaps they are on the most wanted list?
 Anyway onto some of the games.
 Firstly was this little beauty in the participation zone, please forgive me for not recording the club name. I was drawn to the buildings which are made of card and were wonderful. After a nice talk to one of the organisers I discovered its from a book called the Terry Pratchett Unseen University Book.
 My photograph probably doesnt do the buildings justice but they are lovely card models. The book is out of print, but one sold last night on E Bay for £16.00. On Amazon they were retailing for anything between £20.00 and £65.00. Definitely worth a look. The game was fun as well, especially for younger would be wargamers.
Ken Worley collared me demanding a mention regarding his purist Kreigspiel game. He is a great exponent of the 'game' and I must admit it always tempts me, just to understand how we started as a hobby. Happy now Ken? 
This beautiful Strasbourg Cathedral model caught my eye on a lovely late medieval game. I had a long talk to one of the organisers regarding this piece which is a German railway model. It really added to the spectacle of the game which had some lovely units on display.I think the group were Derby Wargames Society.

 Next up, a Mongol versus a confederation of kingdoms including Teutonic Knights. The game was put on by Kallistra using their terrain and figures and was a great advertisement for the company and the period. 
                           You dont often see a Mongol army but they looked great en masse.

John's favourite game and a close second for me. The Napoleonic game was based around one of the old board games. The group had commissioned their own large hexed boards which were top class and then created the units accordingly. All the units were beautifully painted. I loved the hexed boards but wont say how much each cost. They werent cheap but were definitely worth the money.  

                     I had to include this image of a British plane 'flying' over France.

This game caught my eye initially for the cloth which was first rate. It was something between a thick felt and soft fleece and was very effective, well I thought so. I then noticed the lovely fort and standing stones.

The terrible Perry twins staged a Egyptian adventure game using their beautiful early Napoleonic's. Top quality figures, terrain and crack. A great period to wargame.

The wars in India are very popular at the moment. Whats not to like, colourful units, overwhelming odds and rockets.
              It was a well executed game with some real effort put into the whole game.
             A very large late Napoleonic game, I think it was Genappe from the 1815 campaign. It looked great with some very large Dutch units.

This renaissance game ticked all the boxes for me. It had Swiss, a fortified castle and some beautifully painted gendarmes.

 Barry Hilton had taken the long journey South to show off his beautiful new Turkish range.This time taking on the Russians. The game was an incentive to bring out my Ottoman Turks, a class game as is to be expected.

One of the games John and I really wanted to see was Simon Millers Battle of Marston Moor in 10mm. It was the biggest battle of the first civil war and looked very impressive laid out using Simon's wonderful rules.

MDF is the go to materiel for wargamers and I was very impressed by its use for the terrain in this game. It was neat, practical and gave a great effect.
And now my favourite game. Paul Robinson and the gents from Grimsby put on a large Swedish battle against the Russians, Poles and Saxons.I chose it simply because Paul used his beautiful Hinchliffe Polish army. Irrespective of the age of the castings they are brilliant figures. Somehow the images I took of the wonderful Polish winged lancers failed to come out! I can only apologise as they were a wonderful example of how to paint figures.

                                         Somehow this one small unit of lancers survived.
 So a great show and a wonderful advertisment for the hobby. It was very busy all the time I was there as I suspected it would be. It was great to bump into various wargamers I only see at shows and a very big thank you to David Bickley for his very generous gift of some Cran Tara Scots. They will be seconded into my French army as the Royal Scots or something similar. Wargamers can be very nice people.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating