Sunday, 23 July 2017

Scratch building a French Indian War fort

Having completed a blockhouse to add to my French Indian War armies last week, it was time to figure out how to create a fort. One of the considerations I had was not to create a large piece of terrain which would require storage. 

The final result which can be set up with different configurations
I opted to build the fort walls in 6 inch strips to fit with the 6 inch tabletop grid I use. My figures are based on 3x4 inch bases so small firing steps are not going to work. The approach is to use MDF for the walls and an angled pine moulding for the firing steps. This allows a defending unit to be seen over the defence wall.
Man the walls!
The defenders can be seen over the wall
The MDF was cut into 6 x 1.5 inch strips and the moulding cut into 6 inch lengths with a 45 degree mitre cut on each end. These were then stuck together and stapled to hold them. The stapes were removed later on once the glue was dry.

Wood cut and prepared
Glue mounding
Staples used to hold pieces in position 
Once all the glue was dry, the walls get an undercoat of mid-brown. The next step involves stripping the walls with a watered down dark brown, then with a watered down yellow brown to represent logs used to build the walls. Although the yellow brown is less watered down, else they tend to disappear once dry.

Painting on stripes with watered down dark brown
A second set of strips were added with a slightly watered down yellow brown 
The back is painted green and will be later flocked
In all 12 wall sections were made - 2 were painted up as gates
Once painted all sections got a coat of varnish and the back flocked. Very simple to make and paint and can easily be packed away without fear of any breakages. It is surprising how effective a little bit of paint quite quickly applied can transform a simple strip of MDF into a log defence wall.

The whole lot including block house (made from balsa wood and card) cost less than $20, and made over the weekend.

A close up of the fort walls and blockhouse made last week. 
This shot shows how the mitred back supports work. 
A seige underway? 
The defence walls will also get a run with my dark age flats


Saturday, 22 July 2017

6x6 Challenge - WW2 Naval - games 5 and 6

I am yet to play any 6x6 challenge games and the July is quickly slipping by. So it was time to return and complete my mini WW2 Naval campaign and hopefully get 2 games out of it.

For a reminder of the campaign click here.


The campaign was at the stage where the Grey force had successfully made its way across the convoy lanes to the top of the map and were now heading back to their home port having achieved their objectives.

Before any games could be played Blue force had to catch up with the Grey raiders. Their only chance was to hunt down the pocket battleship which had sustained serious damage in a previous encounter and had to roll a 4+ in order make a campaign move.


While Grey's pocket battleship was struggling with damage repairs the weather turned stormy and was a hindrance to Blue's forces search (who have to roll 5+ in stormy weather to move). However, contact was made and game 5 could begin.


Game 5 began at 1pm with stormy weather. Grey's pocket battleship was spotted by Blue's force of a light cruiser, destroyer and two corvettes. Blue's ships were outclassed and hatched a very simple plan to: close the distance as quickly as possible, let loose all their torpedoes and then retire as fast as possible.

Blue's ships close in while Grey's pocket battleship turns broadside and engages
With all torpedoes used Blue makes for a hasty retreat. Two torpedoes made their target, but the stormy weather had prevented any critical damage by either side at this point.
A final salvo from the pocket battleship sunk the light cruiser
Having fought off blue's forces in game 5. Grey's pocket battleship failed to make much headway in the following campaign move (in other words it failed to roll a 4+). The weather was fine and allowed Blue's forces to close and engage.

Blue's forces pounce
Game 6 - Both forces spotted each other at 10am on a fine morning. Blue's force had a battleship, two destroyers and two corvettes. Their plan was to close to torpedo range and engage.

Blue's ships prepare for action
Grey's pocket battleship and blue's ships in the distance
The pocket battleship was able to cripple a couple of the corvettes before both sides turned broadside. Torpedoes were  launched and hit home sinking the pocket battleship.
So the campaign is over in game 6 with the sinking of Grey's pocket battleship. Grey's other force successfully makes it to port. Victory goes to Grey for 2 campaign points for getting both forces to the top of the map, while Blue achieved 1 point for destroying one a Grey's forces.

The games themselves have taken between 15-30 minutes using the straightforward Panzer8 WW2 naval rules, which can still be found in an archive here

All in all, an enjoyable set of games which were enhanced by having a campaign wrapped around them. The dice generated campaign and game moves worked well. In fact too well, for as Blue I lost.

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