Wednesday 29 August 2018

ECW refight of Fiddler's Bottom - Part 2 - Game Report

The background to the refight for Fiddler's Bottom can be found in an earlier post. A quick recap of the order of battle:

Royalist Force
3 x Galloper units
1 x Trotter unit
3 x Infantry units
2 x Dragoon units

Parliamentarian Force
4 x Trotter units
5 x Infantry units
1 x Dragoon unit

On the tabletop Parliamentarian and Royalist are lined up on opposing hills. In the chapter from Wargame Tactics (C.Grant) the commanders have some wonderful names. The Royalist relief force is commanded by Sir Peter Oldbody and his Roundhead opponent is Harbottle Grimstone.

Start of game with forces lined up
Both sides pushed forward their cavalry
On the other flank dragoons, Parliamentarian and Royalists, move towards the farm buildings
The contest between cavalry units continues
Parliamentary forces push froward a couple of foot units to support their outnumbered dragoons
A wider view of the game
Royalist dragoons starting to suffer casualties from the advanced foot units
Royalist commander surveys the situation
Royalist foot advance
The few remaining cavalry battle it out
Foot units exchange musket fire
The Parliamentary reserve foot, uncertain of where the cavalry are, remain on the hill top.
Dragoons are still engaged in the farm buildings, while in the background the regrouped royalist line prepare to advance up the hill.
It was at this point the Parliamentarian forces decide enough is enough and retired from the field of battle. So a victory to Royalists forces.

I am still not sure whether to go with a gridded game or use a free movement. So the game was setup again. This time a gridded tabletop was used and the result was reversed.

A replay of the game using a square grid.
As for the rules one area remains in a flux. That being the use of commanders who can move between units and rally them. I am not sure I like commanders flitting around the tabletop and would rather have them attached to a single unit for the game. Possible options I am considering are:

  • If attached to a cavalry unit they add 1 to all combat attacks (not shooting for trotters)
  • If attached to a foot unit that unit is treated elite and will reduce all melee results by 1.

Saturday 25 August 2018

French Indian War Rules using D3 dice for combat

One of the reasons for playing the French Indian War campaign was to help complete a set of house rules which began as One Hour Wargame (OHW) horse and musket rules. Now the campaign is over, it is time to include the various hand written rules which did not get rejected into these OHW variant rules. They can be found in one of the tabs at the top of this blog and I can print them on one double sided sheet of paper. (These have replaced the previous version of the rules I had listed up there - and thank you to those who posted both questions and suggestions on the old rules.)

Now for a few photos from the games...

The familiar fort that got good use during the campaign.
The rules were used in a siege game for the tactical moves which occurred in-between the daily siege moves 
All figures are the old plastic Spencer Smith range

Tuesday 21 August 2018

ECW Refight of Fiddler's Bottom

As my English Civil War project continues. I have turned to a book "Wargame Tactics" by Charles Grant for inspiration and have setup the tabletop to refight the imaginary battle of Fiddler's Bottom as best as possible. I use the term "as best as possible" because the scale of my armies and tabletop are somewhat less than those described in the book, where the combined armies had 500 plus infantry and 150 cavalry.

Inspiration for the battle of Fiddler's Bottom
My scaled down version is on a 6x4 foot table and has 100 infantry, 32 cavalry and 18 dragoons. I am using dragoons rather than commanded shot as described in the book. I am yet to paint up my commanded shot units. These numbers translate to the following order of battle:

Royalist Force
3 x Galloper units
1 x Trotter unit
3 x Infantry units
2 x Dragoon units

Parliamentarian Force
4 x Trotter units
5 x Infantry units
1 x Dragoon unit

The Parliamentarian units lined up on the far side
Royalists position and the farm Fiddler's Bottom on their right flank
The game is being played without a grid as I try out the current version of my house rules to see how they play with a free movement approach.

Saturday 18 August 2018

English Civil War painting and rules

With the end in sight for the painting of my English Civil War (ECW) armies: 2 artillery, 3 cavalry and 4 infantry. I decided to purchase a few more figures for 2 commanded shot units from Hinds Figures Ltd who still produce the Hinchliffe range thank goodness.

These extra figures will delay me finishing the project by a couple of weeks. At present I am painting at a rate of 1 unit per week (slow and steady). The fact that I am happily gaming with the existing units I have painted makes the painting effort easier as each new unit completed soon gets recruited into the existing armies.

My house rules are starting to become more firm and I am now moving into the “rules tinkering” stage. As per usual the rules are aimed at playing a game with one hour and are inspired by One-hour Wargaming pike and shot rules. I have stuck with using D3 dice (1,1,2,2,3,3) for combat as I really like the concept of a unit’s combat outcome being treated as: below average, average or above average.
The arrival of cavalry
For the sequence of play I am trying to reflect the difficulty of organising movement for the army as a whole and not at an individual unit level. I did consider a DBA style player initiative points (PIP) approach initially, but in the end opted for the following approach.

At the start of each game turn both players roll a D6.

  • The player with the lowest score goes first and is able to activate half their units, rounding up any fractions.
  • The player with the highest score goes second and is able to activate all their units.
  • Whenever scores are drawn there is a lull in fighting and both players can only activate their commanders.

This mechanism creates opportunities for one side to activate some units twice and capitalise on a situation, or be at the disadvantage by going first a few turns in a row. This second point lead to an optional rule whereby players are allowed to re-roll their turn dice. The number of time they could do this during a game would determined by their commanders ability. The greater then ability the greater number of times they can re-roll.

I will cover the other rules over the next few posts as the rules firm up.

A grid-based game
In the photos you will notice I have been playing games using both a grid and free movement. Although my leaning is currently towards using a gridded approach for the ECW period.

Monday 13 August 2018

Some thoughts on the French Indian War Campaign

Well, the French Indian War campaign has come to a close. I thought there might be one or two more battles to play out, but at the operational level fate was on the side of the British and not the French. The final events are detailed on Jonathan’s Palouse Wargaming Journal.

Finishing this campaign is like when you have read the last page of a really good book. A slight sense of loss prevails you and you wonder what will take its place.

This campaign was run as a "solo campaign relay" and started way back in February this year. When Jonathan put forward the idea which consisted of him running the operational aspects of a FIW campaign while I fought out the battles on the wargame table. The original concept is detailed here.

The campaign lasted for just over 5 months and involved playing out some 20 battles. These battles involved: 14 attacks of forts, 5 battles without a fort, and 1 major siege. While the French lost the campaign, they actually won more battles (11 of the 20 engagements).

So some thoughts on the campaign...

Why did it work and last for 5+ months and not fizzle out?

The battles were played using a heavily modified variant of one-hour wargames. This meant all games were play to a conclusion normally within 1 hour and I could fit a game in easily in an evening. More often than not, I would set up one evening and play the next.

Most games were played with between 6 and 10 units of plastic Spencer-Smith Seven Years War figures. They are simply painted, and its is always a joy to pull them out of their containers and place them on the tabletop ready for a game.

A game in progress

Did I get the context to the battles?

Yes, the context came in two areas. Firstly, Jonathan provided an excellent campaign narrative and suggestions with each battle. Secondly, before most battles I took the opportunity to read up about the locations history and view map images of the period to help get a feel for how to setup the tabletop.

An attack on a fort - a necessary photo after 14 games involving forts.
Did the rules work out?

The rules are pretty well settled after 20 games. The combination of campaign rules and tabletop rules helped improve how regulars, militia, and warbands were defined in term of hits accumulated before elimination and combat values. 

Commander quality also made its way into the rules. Whereby a commanders defensive or attacking qualities improve his units resilience (hits they could take) depending if they were attacking or defending in the battle.

I now need to post the final rules and make a booklet as I have with by WW2 and Napoleonic rules.

Highlights of the campaign?

Some of the earlier games with the contest of Fort William-Henry were very interesting. Possible the taking of forts become a tad less interesting as the campaign progressed. However, the siege of Quebec (game 15) was most enjoyable and allowed me to get my star-fort onto the tabletop.

The Siege of Quebec

Sunday 12 August 2018

Painted cloth terrain features

A while back I used watered down paint to help stain a piece of material to cover my tabletop (see here). Essentially a home made battle mat. Since then I have been looking at some of the other cloth items I use for roads and fields as they look a bit stark. Given how painting the battle mat worked out, I decided to tryout a painting approach with some of my field terrain features.

A yellow piece of felt used to represent a field
The yellow felt now painted.
A ploughed field made from a corduroy material.
The ploughed field with paint effects applied. Dry-brushing a sand colour and dots of green.
So far my test pieces have worked out and I will finish the remaining fields before turning my attention the road and town terrain features.

Meanwhile on the gaming side, other than the French India War campaign,  I am continuing to play out some English Civil War games to test out the D3 dice rules.

Royalist forces attempt to cross the river

Thursday 9 August 2018

French Indian War Campaign - Game 20

The campaign has moved into May 1759 with the Battle at Oswegatchie and we see a surprise attack by the British on the settlement. For full details of the operational moves and the influence of recent battles on the campaign political tracker please view Jonathan's Palouse Wargaming Journal.

The battle at its height
The orders of battle for the tabletop are increased by a factor of 3 from those described in the campaign:

Commander Loudoun (A0D1)
4 x Regular Units
1 x Light Infantry
1 x Grenadiers

Commander Rigaud (A0D1)
3 x Regular units
3 x Militia (improved number of hits allowed due to Rigaud's command D1 ability)

Because of the surprise attack all French units must begin the game either in the town or adjacent squares.

For a bit of a change I decided to show the various stages of the battle on a map followed by some photos of the game.

Opening positions
First line of attack by the British
British shift their second position to the right as the French retire to the settlement 
The final British position as they move into the settlement
A British victory, and now for the photos...

The British move into position.
The first British line (the gap in the French line was through the loss of their first unit and Commander)
The British reposition as the French retire to the settlement.
The second British position as they begin to close in on the settlement.
The final phase as the settlement is entered by the British for a victory.

Saturday 4 August 2018

English Civil War game

During the week I was able to complete two artillery units for my English Civil War armies. While I still have a few more units yet to paint (4 infantry, 4 cavalry, 2 commanders and 2 artillery) I now have sufficient numbers for a trial game with a variation of One Hour Wargame Pike and Shot rules.
Troops and raid out on a hastily set up tabletop.
There are already some good variants out there from which I can draw inspiration:

In my searching for some simple rules, I came across a site with quite a bit on ECW games using DBA style games.

The above sources will prove very useful as I pull together some simple rules for myself. At the moment my intention is for the rules to use D3 dice for combat and use a square grid to regulate movement and shooting distances. The rules will be written up in a small booklet as I have done recently for my Napoleonic and WW2 rules. This constraint will help me keep the rules simple and straightforward.

Royalist position. Most figures are Hinchliffe with an odd Minifig thrown in.
Parliament forces positioned on a hill.
As I have mentioned in previous posts. These Hinchliffe figures were collected when I was in my early teens back in the early 1970's and never successfully painted up. They were boxed up in 1975 and only this year have I opened up the boxes and finally got around to painting them. So it is with great joy I get to push them around a tabletop this weekend.