Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Blockhouse for French Indian War

To add some variety to my French Indian War armies a blockhouse and fort is needed. The blockhouse is the easier and smaller of the two to make, so I started there. I mostly use balsa wood and simple shapes, using paint to show any details.

Here are the steps...

The four sides were made and a second strip put around for the second storey of the blockhouse. This also assists with the  painting.
Old cardboard is used to create the roof supports
The cardboard support is slotted into the building
Using thin cardboard create the shape for the roof and cut out
Roof added and a folded strip of card used to hold where the piece joins
Folded strips are added for each corner.
The roof get trimmed up
A base coat of paint is added

A lighter grey is lightly brushed on using an old brush. Old brushes are better to give an uneven look.
Watered down dark brown and black are used to give the impression of logs, shingled roof, and stone walls
Watered down sand colour used to add some more depth to the logs and roof
Firing slits are added and a door
The finished blockhouse
From another angle

Sunday, 16 July 2017

French Indian War units all painted

This weekend I was able to paint and finish off the last couple of Spencer Smith units for my French Indian war armies. Huzzah! And now I can have a break from trying to complete two (or more) units each week. Before I get going on my next painting project, I will be making up some canoes, boats and a fort for the period.

A Highland unit made by re-using some grenadier models, who in their ownership history had had their hats removed and replaced with tricornes. I then replaced these with a bonnet and added a kilt all with greenstuff. 
Some more grenadiers made up as rangers
I chose not to use all the artillery miniatures available for the moment. Two artillery units seemed quite sufficient for the armies which will normally field anywhere between 8 to 15 units per side.

All 33 units in their storage containers
I have been able to get in a couple of smallish games of 8 units aside during the week. This was to test out some or the rule changes mentioned in the last post.

Early stages of a game (the brown areas represent difficult terrain with no cover advantage. Just difficult to manoeuvre  across.
Not all my rule changes worked, particularly the cover rule requiring attackers to be adjacent. Never mind, amendments were made which seem to be working, and I am now writing the rules up to add to the rules available at the top.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Continued to mess around with French Indian war rules

Since my last post I have played though a few more games trying out some modifications to the draft combat rules (see the previous post). Along with a little bit of painting of some commanders and captains so I can stop using counters to show the units they are attacked to.

French Captain
French Commander

The first change was to reduce the need to track hits down from 12 to 6 hits before being eliminated. Driven by a practical need not to have two dice sitting behind a unit and have one instead, much neater with just one. This also meant halving the number of hits by using a D3 approach and rounding down so the results are 0,1,1,2,2,3 a bit average dice like and providing more consistent results.

The second change was to the volley which doubles the hits rolled. A very powerful attack for regular infantry. Muskets have a range of two squares (12" if you like free movement) and it seemed appropriate for the volleys to be used only at a range of one square (6").

The third change is to cover. When in cover the attacking range for all musketry is reduced to one square. So units attacking units uncover need to close with them and suffer an additional attack until they do so.

The fourth change is to the disruption rule which is used when a takes a hit, and also when rallying units. All units require a 3+ to pass. Line infantry when supported by another line infantry unit in an adjacent square add +1 to their dice roll, and light infantry/skirmish units get a +1 when in any cover.

British Captain

Saturday, 8 July 2017

French Indian War - draft rules

This week another four units for my French Indian War project were painted up. So I started messing around with some draft rules which are heavily influenced by the Lion Rampant ruleset and in particular their activation mechanism.

Medium artillery and some rangers
I should be able to make up two more units from the remaining miniatures I have available. Included will be a commander and captain for each side, as the rules provide for them.

French line infantry and medium artillery
So far I have played a few games with the rules and the crossing outs and additions are reducing. So Though it was about time to type them up. They are geared to games with 10-15 units played on a 6x4 foot tabletop marked with a 6 inch square grid.

Units.
  • Miniatures can be individually based or mounted on single of multiple bases. So long as they all fit nicely into a tabletop square and are recognisable. Each unit represents 30 to 50 men.
  • I tend to go with large bases with between 7 and 10 miniatures per 3x4 inch base.
  • A Commander and captain can be individually based figures or represented by a token placed with the unit they are attached to.
  • All units are eliminated once they have sustained more than 12 hits.
Grenadiers
  • Move 1 square in the open on a 2+
  • Move 1 square into difficult terrain on a 3+
  • Shoot on a 2+
  • Volley fire on a 3+
  • Charge/close with enemy unit on a 2+
Line Infantry
  • Move 1 square in the open on a 2+
  • Move 1 square into difficult terrain on a 3+
  • Shoot on a 2+
  • Volley fire on a 3+
  • Charge/close with enemy unit on a 3+

Skirmishers and Light Infantry
  • Move 2 square in the open on a 2+
  • Move 1 square into difficult terrain on a 2+
  • Shoot on a 2+
  • Charge/close with enemy unit on a 4+

Indians
  • Move 2 square in the open on a 2+
  • Move 2 square into difficult terrain on a 2+
  • Shoot on a 3+
  • Skirmish by moving 1 square and shoot on a 4+

Light Artillery
  • Move 1 square in the open on a 4+
  • Shoot on a 3+
Medium Artillery
  • Cannot move once places at start of the game
  • Shoot on a 4+
Commander
  • Attached to a unit and must remain with that unit for the remainder of the game of unit the unit is eliminated. Allows for re-rolls with rally tests, activations and disorganisation tests for adjacent units.
Captain
  • Attached to a unit and must remain with that unit for the remainder of the game of unit the unit is eliminated. Allows for re-rolls with rally tests, activations and disorganisation tests.


Sequence of play
  • Each complete turn comprises two player turns. Each player follows the sequence listed below in their turn:
  1. Rally disorganised unit
  2. Activations
  3. Army Resolve
Rally Disorganised Units
  • Roll 1D6 and add or subtract:
            -1 if a unit has sustained less than 6 hits
            -2 if a unit has sustained more than 6 hits
            +1 if a regular unit which is adjacent to another friendly regular unit
  • If the score is zero or less the unit is routed and removed from play.
  • If the unit is accompanied by a captain, or is in an adjacent square to the commander, they may re-roll and apply the second score.
Activations
  • A player may keep on activating their units until they either fail an activation or have activated all their units.
  • Units may only be activated once per player turn.
  • A player may not activate a unit that has been successfully rallied.
  • If the unit is accompanied by a captain, or in an adjacent square to the commander, they may re-roll and apply the second score.
  • Once a unit is successfully activated the action must be carried out immediately.
  • Depending upon the activation the other player’s units maybe able to return fire and disruption tests can be requited of both sides units.
Movement
  • Units may move in any direction including diagonally.
  • Units that move 2 squares may move through other friendly units (providing an enemy unit is not adjacent).
  • Units must stop movement when entering a square adjacent to an enemy unit.
  • Units may only exit a square adjacent to an enemy unit if the square they are moving to is not next to an enemy unit.
  • Units do not have to face a particulate direct to move or shoot. (Note - this may change as the rules get developed more).

Terrain
Terrain effects units in the following way:
  • Woods - threat as difficult terrain for activation and all units get cover unless charged
  • Buildings - treat as open terrain and all units get cover (including when charged)
  • Marsh/Lakes - impassable for all units
  • Streams - treat as difficult terrain
  • Rivers - impassable except at bridges and fords
  • Bridges and Fords - treat as difficult terrain
  • Roads - Additional move for line infantry and artillery.
  • Hills - Artillery can re-roll shooting D6, but must accept second rolled score.
  • Rough Terrain - treat as difficult terrain
  • Fields and Fences - threat as difficult terrain for activation and all units get cover
  • Entrenchments - treat as cover and all shooting except artillery can only occur when a unit is in an adjacent square.
Shooting
  • All musket shooting has a range of 2 squares. 1 square is short range and 2 squares is long range shooting.
  • Roll 1D6 for the number of shooting points.
           2 points are required to cause 1 hit at short range
           3 points are required to cause 1 hit at long range
  • 1 additional point is required if the target is in cover
  • Mark the hits against the unit using D6 placed behind the unit. If any hits were taken by a unit a disruption test must be taken.
  • The unit being shot at is allowed to return fire if it has not been disrupted by the shooting and has not returned fire already in the turn. 
  • Units shooting must select a target which is at the closes range.

Disruption Test

  • For any unit taking hits , roll 1D6 and add or subtract:
          -1 if a unit has sustained less than 6 hits
          -2 if a unit has sustained more than 6 hits
          +1 if a regular unit which is adjacent to another friendly regular unit

  • If the score is zero or less the unit is disrupted. If the units is already disrupted, then the unit routs and is removed from play.
  • If the unit is accompanied by a captain, or is in an adjacent square to the commander, they may re-roll and apply the second score.
Return Fire

  • When a unit is shot at it can return fire providing it is not disrupted and has not already returned fire this turn. Use the same process as shooting, including any tests for disruption. However, the original attacking unit is not going to return fire.
  • Volley fire can never be used to return fire.
Volley Fire

  • All musket shooting has a range of 2 squares. 1 square is short range and 2 squares is long range shooting.
  • Roll 1D6 and double the score.
          2 points are required to cause 1 hit at short range
          3 points are required to cause 1 hit at long range
          1 additional point is required if the target is in cover

  • Mark the hits against the unit using D6 placed behind the unit. If any hits were taken by a unit a disruption test must be taken.
  • The unit being shot at is allowed to return fire if it has not been disrupted by the shooting and has not returned fire already in the turn.
  • Units shooting must select a target which is at the closes range.
Artillery Fire

  • All artillery shooting has a range of 4 squares.
  • Roll 1D6 for light artillery use this score and for medium artillery double the score.
           2 points are required to cause 1 hit
           1 additional point is required if the target is in cover

  • Mark the hits against the unit using D6 placed behind the unit. If any hits were taken by a unit a disruption test must be taken.
  • The unit being shot at is allowed to return fire if it has not been disrupted by the shooting, has not returned fire already in the turn, and is within range.
  • Artillery can select any target providing there is not a unit in an adjacent square.
Charges

  • To charge a unit must begin its action in an adjacent square to the unit being charged.
  • Roll 1D6 and double the score.
          1 point is required to cause 1 hit
          1 additional point is required if the target is in buildings or fortifications

  • Mark the hits against the unit using D6 placed behind the unit. If any hits were taken by a unit a disruption test must be taken. However, if the unit become disrupted it automatically routs due to the charge, and the charging unit then moves into the vacated square.
  • The unit being charged at is allowed to return fire if it has not been eliminated and has not returned fire already in the turn.
  • When returning fire 1 point causes 1 hit on the attacking unit.
Eliminating Units

  • A hit represents a combination of casualties, loss of officers, exhaustion and disorder caused to a unit by combat. Units are eliminated immediately when they exceed 12 hits.
Army Resolve

  • Whenever a force loses its commander or any artillery unit. Then all units must take a rally test and any failing will rout and be removed from play.
A game begins

An engagement over some buildings


Wednesday, 5 July 2017

French Indian War paining progress

Only a few more plastic Spencer Smith SYW units to paint before I finish my French Indian War project. Most of the figures are Spencer Smith, but there also a number of plastic AWI Connoisseur Figures (I think) which I will also paint up, enough for another 3 to 4 units. They are a fraction smaller in size, but will look fine providing I don't base the two makes of models together in a unit.

A couple of figures yet to be painted and the size difference between Connoisseur and  Spencer Smith figures
In the last couple of days I have begun getting a few of the completed units on to the tabletop to start trying out some rule ideas. At the moment the rules are a jumbled set of notes and crossed out notes, but the gaming has been fun with the new miniatures.

Notepad ready to jot down some rules 
British units ready for a game supported by artillery
French units lined up



Sunday, 2 July 2017

19th Century Imagi-Nations - 6x6 Challenge Game 4

Game 4 of the 19th century campaign about the disputed Scailand province, which stands between Ustoria and Greater Novia, has so for gone the way of the Novian forces. Public opinion in the home press of each country is the determining factor for both sides in this Scailand War.

So far public opinion has for the most part held strong in Greater Novia (at 45%) as their press has recorded a number of victories and overlooked the casualties. While in the Ustorian cities the press reporting has for the most part covered valiant defence, but with increasing casualty lists. Ustorian public opinion has sunk to 25% for support of the war.

The next pitched battle occurs as Greater Novian forces pushed into some of the lowland areas of Scailand. (A dice roll was used to determined the type of game: small engagement or pitched battle.)

Greater Novian forces prepare to engage under threat of a flank attack

The game is being played on a gridded war-game table. Over the last couple of weeks I have been testing out some rule modifications to movement and combat which have resulted in an opportunity to use them on a grid. The rule changes were not originally intended for a gridded game, but it just turned out that way.

Game setup...

The setup used concepts from 19th Century European Wargaming (Neil Thomas)

Ustorian Forces:

  • 5 infantry units
  • 1 skirmish unit
  • 3 artillery units
  • 1 cavalry unit

Of these 2 infantry and 1 cavalry unit would appear on game turn 4 on a designated flank.

Greater Novia Forces:

  • 5 infantry units
  • 1 dragoon unit
  • 1 skirmish unit
  • 1 artillery unit

Novian forces lost a cavalry unit and artillery unit due to them getting bogged down (quite appropriate given the area being fought over was the Scailan lowlands). However, due to the Ustorians having a flank attack, the Novians are allowed to have an advance force of 3 units.

A Novian advance force occupies a town and prepares to push ahead with a skirmish unit to contest the woods.
The table top set up (based on a dice roll) was for marshlands. Placed on the tabletop were: 3 woods, 2 towns and 2 impassable areas of marshland.

And on to the game...

Initial moves saw both sides push up with clashes quickly developing around the woods overlooking  the towns. The centre advance towards the towns by Ustorian forces, quickly retired in the face of larger Novian forces. Falling back and contented themselves with using their artillery to bombard the towns.

Both side advance and combat starts in the far wooded area.
Ustorian units hold their own in the woods, but retreat from superior number in the centre.
On turn 4 the flank march appears to threaten the Novian left flank. This prompted the Novian's to launch a counter attack in the centre against the weaker Ustorian forces. This attack came close to eliminating the infantry units, and would have left the artillery exposed. However, the Ustorian units fell back under the attack to survive.

(This is one of the rule modifications. Units can retire from an attack and reduce the number of hits by one. They are disorganised and can only reform during their movement phase. In this game Ustorian units gave up ground to avoid being eliminated.)

The Ustorian flanking units arrive - 2 infantry and 1 cavalry units
The Greater Novian army launches an attack in the centre which came close to success, but not quite.
With their centre attack failing the Novian forces retired to prepare as the Ustorian flank attack started. The impact of the flank attack was soon nullified as reserves were fed into the engagement.

Novian forces fall back after their centre attack fails 
Ustorian flank attack does little against well prepared Novian positions
The final game moves saw Ustorian units make a decisive move on their left flank after having won the battle of the woods. This time they were able to launch a flank attack on an unprepared Novian right flank. All Novian reserve units had been moved to fend off the attack on the opposite flank.

The strong artillery present of the Ustorian army started to take effect as they targeted weakened units as the flank attack from the woods made ground. Within two game turns Greater Novian losses reached 5, more than half their original force of 8 units and game's end.


Ustorian units having cleared the woods launch a flank attack
End of the game and an Ustorian victory
So how did this game play out in the campaign public opinion?

Ustoria:

  • 2 units eliminated, but was able to save 1 and lose only 5%
  • The cavalry unit successfully attacked and destroyed an artillery unit. So plus 5% as dramatic lithographs in the newspapers depict the cavalry charge rekindling memories of past victories.
  • A glorious action with the capture of the woods adds 5%. The press write about the bravery of the troops in capturing an enemy position. Plus 5%.

An overall increase of 5% taking Ustorian public opinion to 30%.

Greater Novia:
  • 5 units eliminated, but were able to save 2 and lose 15%.
  • 2 valiant defence actions which denied both towns to the enemy. Plus 10%.
Public opinion reduced by 5% to 40%.

The rule changes seemed to work well in this game. No more modifications required before the next game. And most pleasingly, they worked well on a square grid. Assuming the next coupe of games go well, I will update the rules with all my scribbled notes.



Thursday, 29 June 2017

6x6 gaming progress for June

This month has be pretty good gaming wise with five games played as part of the 6x6 challenge. Two were WW2 naval games and three were 19th century imagi-nations games.

There were also a number of smaller games played as I mess around with some 19th century European rules. After a series of these small games over both the this week and last week, the rule changes seem to be settling down.

A small game underway to test out some rules
So at the end of June my 6x6 challenge progress stands at:

  • One Hour Wargames (Tank-on-Tank) SciFi Variant - 6 games completed in February
  • Dark Ages with Dux Bellorum (Osprey) - 6 games completed in January using paper armies
  • WW2 Naval (Pz8 rules) - 4 games played to date.
  • 19th Century European Imagi-Nations OHW - 3 games played in June.
  • Galleys and Galleons (Ganesha Games) - purchased "Wargame the Spanish Armada 1588" by Peter Dennis for the paper models. 2 games were played in April.
  • Hundred Years War using Lion Rampant (Osprey) - 6 games completed as part of a series of campaign games.
I was planing to play a WW1 game, but having finished painting my 19th century imagi-nations armies the temptation to get them on the tabletop was too great and I switched them for the planned WW1 games.

 WW2 naval at the start of the game



Sunday, 25 June 2017

French Indian War - A few more units painted

There has been little gaming for me on the tabletop this weekend. Most of my free time has been spent painting a few more French Indian War units. I was able to complete two French line infantry units and two British line infantry units, and also got started on six militia/frontiersman units which are still on the painting table.

All the figures are old plastic SYW Spencer Smith miniatures. There are a few ACW throw in for some of the light infantry and militia units.

Two completed Spencer Smith French line infantry
Two completed British line infantry
French forces
British forces (taken before the last two units were completed)
Because I have a limited number of militia/frontiersmen type units the painting. Two will be painted as French and two as British militia and the remaining two in such a colour they can be used on either side.

This coming week's painting
Close to finished and soon ready for flock to be added
I still have enough figures to create four more line infantry units, six units of artillery including two light artillery pieces, and one commander. The second commander unit will have to be modelled on an ACW mounted figure. Once complete this should give me enough for some small scale games with six to ten units per side.



Thursday, 22 June 2017

19th Century Image-Nations Campaign - Game 3

Game 3 of my mini 19th century campaign was a rearguard action, which followed on from the previous pitch battle game. Greater Novia forces having won the pitched battle were trying to capitalise upon their victory, and cause more problems for the Ustorian forces as they retreated.

The approach for determining the forces was taken from Nineteenth Century European Wargaming by Neil Thomas. The victorious forces have 10 units and the rearguard have 5 units. The rearguard must stop 5 attacking units exiting their edge of the tabletop. The game is played longways down the tabletop.

As I have been playing through the last couple of games (and a few quick smaller one off games in between) I have been trying out a couple of rule modifications. The first of these is allowing a unit that has sustained hits to retire to reduce the number of hits, and the second is variable movement.

Retiring to reduce hits
The idea of retiring to reduce damage came from the SPI games I used to play in the late 1970's and the ubiquitous CRT (Combat Resolution Table). The results from this table often gave a player a choice of having a unit counter step down one level to hold the ground or move out of the hex it occupied to relinquish the ground and save dropping a combat level.

The aim of using this approach is to help give a bit of ebb and flow to the game. Because the rules I use are based upon the One Hour Wargaming approach. I find units once engaged don't really push back the enemy line or allow for a defender to easily give up ground.

Variable movement
The variable movement approach I have gone with is:

  • Units with less than 50% hits on a D6 roll of 4+ move an additional 50%. Less than 4 and they move their normal movement.
  • Units with more than 50% hits on a D6 roll of 4+ move their normal movement. Less than 4 and they move half of their normal movement.

The Game - and photos of the rearguard action...

The advancing Novian units see the Ustorian rearguard ahead 
Greater Novian forces:
  • 2 x Skirmisher units
  • 1 x Dragoon units
  • 1 x Cavalry units
  • 2 x Artillery units
  • 4 x Infantry units
4 units start on the table and 2 units can arrive every turn after turn 2 on a D6 score of 3+.

Ustorian hastily prepare their defences
Ustorian forces:
  • 1 x Cavalry unit
  • 3 x Infantry units
  • 1 x Skirmisher unit
All start on the table and can be placed with 36" of the baseline.

Novian units move headlong into the first defensive position 
The attacking forces quickly grind to a holt as the Ustorian forces move up their reserves
Reserves start to arrive to support the attack
Ustorian cavalry threaten the flank of the advancing Novians 
More reserves move up and things are getting a bit jammed up. Although both sides were taking casualties 
With artillery in place the defenders soon began to give way to their second line of defence
The Ustorian cavalry did little than annoy the advancing units as they start to prepare to assault the second line
The second line of defence gives way and Greater Novia forces advance

After the battle Ustoria had lost 4 units of which 2 were saved with a 4+ score. Public opinion decreases by 10% to 25%. Ustorian papers are reporting the defeat and with no valiant defences the editorials are questioning the capability of their commanders.

Greater Novian press was starting whip up public opinion reporting of a glorious actions as the first and second defensive lines were stormed. The 3 losses were somewhat overlooked as 2 achieved a 4+ save. Overall public opinion raised 5% to 45%.