Thursday, 14 December 2017

French Indian War games and rules

From playing the last few games of my French Indian War campaign. I have found my house rules may not differentiate sufficiently between how line infantry and skirmisher units operate. I mentioned this in my last post and a couple of helpful comments (thank you) were made. These comments got me thinking about things to change with the rules. But before making any changes. I am mindful that one rule change often leads to another rule change, and before you know it the rules have drifted from what you originally wanted or intended.

French Indian War - British attacking across the river
As I am prone to adjust and tweak rules. It was time for me get a tad more structured about the rules and avoid random acts of rule changes. After re-reading One Hour Wargaming and the chapter on horse and musket rules for inspiration. Where Neil Thomas describes the units involved before getting to the rules themselves. I thought I would try a similar approach and first describe (or in my case - list) how I want the units to operate within the game. By doing this and collecting all my thoughts before devising or changing any rule mechanisms. I will have a list of unit attributes I can use to check back on after test games to see if the rule changes meet what I intended.

British Light Infantry supported by Grenadiers

Here is my initial "what I am looking for" list...

Light infantry, Indians and skirmishers

  • Able to take advantage of cover
  • Traverse broken terrain (woods, rough ground, etc) and Indians easily so
  • Ability to operate independently

Infantry

  • Drilled to operate with other line infantry rather than independently
  • Keeping order and moving across broken terrain is difficult
  • Ability to charge with bayonet
  • Use of volley fire

Grenadiers
  • Elite troops and can operate independently
  • Can operate independently
  • Moving across broken terrain is difficult
  • Ability to charge with bayonet
  • Use of volley fire
Artillery

  • Not very effective shooting in the broken terrain
  • Moving heavy artillery off road (tracks) is problematic
  • Light artillery can move in open terrain

Leaders

  • Commanders help with directing/ordering units within their view
  • Captains act as trusted aide assigned to a unit to carry out a critical mission 

Cavalry

  • None.

Away from the tabletop I have now painted all my Napoleonic infantry units and only have remaining 4 cavalry and 6 artillery units to complete.

Last light infantry units are finished

Sunday, 10 December 2017

French Indian War Campaign - Game 4 report

This weekend I played the fourth game of my French Indian War campaign. Game 4 had a French force moving against a British force. Hoping to follow up on their last victory, where a British force had failed to storm a fort protecting the roads on the North side of the river.

The French advance towards the defending British force
British defensive position
Both sides had very similar make up (five line infantry units, two skirmish units and one artillery piece) and had also deployed in a similar fashion. Skirmishers on the flanks with artillery in the centre supported by line infantry.

The French line advance  
The scene from the British command - The cannon fire was proving to be effective
After being on the receiving end of some very effective shooting. The French attacking units change their line of attack from the British centre, and head towards the weaker left flank. 
Not much happening of the French left flank with the bulk of fighting occurring on the other flank in the distance. A minor attack by some British skirmishers was easily seen off.
The French seize the woods on the British left flank, but having taken quite a few casualties they are unable to capitalise and British reserves shore up the flank
British counterattack begins
French forces are now in a precarious position after a successful British counterattack.
The game ended with a British victory. Over the last couple of I have found my house rules do not  differentiate sufficiently between skirmishers and line infantry units. After a few scribbled changes to the rules I replayed the game. The result was the same. A bit more thinking to do I think.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

French Indian War - Preparing Game 4

After a few weeks of enjoyable distractions with some Necromunda and a Saxon/Norman games. I finally get back to setting up the fourth game of my French Indian War campaign. In game three the British suffered their first set back after two opening victories, when attempting to storm a fort protecting a river crossing.

Subsequent to their defeat the British are forced to retire. 
The French attack the second British force north of the river
Having determined a location for the next battle. A quick look at the map showed the tabletop should reflect a wooded area and a road junction. This meant setting up four woods, two hills and two area of rough terrain. Each terrain piece takes up two squares. The roads were placed first, central to the tabletop and remaining terrain features placed randomly using dice rolls. Towards the end there are a few re-rolls required when terrain features overlap.

The terrain areas are randomly placed.
Terrain features are added
Each side selected twelve units with a minimum of two of each unit type selected. These units are then reduced randomly to eight units using a deck of cards. The lowest values being removed. The French will typically have more skirmisher type units because the always have to select four skirmisher units (two Frontiersmen and two Indian units). Whereas the British can select just two light infantry allowing for more Line infantry to be selected.

British Force - 2 light and 5 line infantry supported by 1 heavy cannon  
French Force - 2 light and 5 line infantry supported by 1 light cannon

This time both sides had an almost identical unit composition. One difference being the type of cannon. The British have a heavier cannon, which means greater hitting power, but unable to be manoeuvred once fired.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A couple of skirmish games

Painting of my Napoleonic Spencer-Smith plastic figures while still continuing is now at a slightly slower pace due to the painting a few figures for some quick Necromunda style skirmish games. For rules I will be using adapted Fistful of Dollar Reloaded rules to deal with grenade launchers and flamers.

Game one had two gangs searching for some loot amongst the ruins of an old under-hive.

House Escher Game from the Necromunda boxed set
A cobbled together gang from my existing W40k figures and called the Preacher gang
The gangs searching for loot 
Loot is collected
The Preacher gang successfully won the game
The second game had the Preacher gang with their haul of loot from game 1 and defending against some very recently painted Adeptus Arbites. The Arbites had been tipped of about the gang and their loot.

Newly painted Arbites are rushed into tabletop action 
The Preacher gang guard their loot
A lookout spots the Arbites advancing through the ruins
The squad leader charges in while covering fire is provided by the rest of the squad.
Some close combat ensued
Accurate shooting gave victory to the Arbite squad.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Necromunda and Dark Ages

This week I completed five models from the Necromunda game I purchased last week. Just could not resist getting a few completed so I could have a small game soonish. It was quite a change in painting style from painting Spencer-Smith models, which I have been doing for a good six or more months now.

First few Necromunda figures painted
I was going to get back into my French Indian War campaign, but as I was packing away my Warhammer 40k models I happened upon my Dark Age flats (Saxon, Normans and Vikings) and thought it would be fun to have a game with those. A thought reinforced as I re-read the dark ages chapter of One Hour Wargames while waiting to pick up some takeaway fish and chips.

The rules used are from One Hour Wargames with modified activation rules mechanisms drawn from Dux Bellorum.
The game is setup
Saxons wait for the attack 
Normans prepare to advance



Sunday, 26 November 2017

The problems of returning to house rules

Returning to self written rules after a break always has problems for me. Namely, the reasons for choosing a certain rule mechanism has been forgotten and so I start questioning aspects of the rules. Then comes a rule modification and after a while of playing the realisation that the original rule did serve a purpose. My little grey cells eventually kick into action and recall the reason for the approach. Doh!

While I have a mini French Indian War campaign on the go, I did not feel quite in an 18th century gaming mood and instead opted for a return to some Sci-Fi gaming using my Warhammer 40k collection. Minus their complicated rules which require too much referring to the rule book for my tastes now-a-days, which is why I use my own house rules.

So this week's wargaming time has been spent mucking around with rules and pretty much going full circle with the reworking rules. Although on the upside, I have notes on a different activation mechanism which I will use on occasion depending the style of game I am looking for.

Only a few photos taken of one of the games...

Space Marines arrive
Tyranids in wait
Towards the end of a game
On a visit to Games Workshop this weekend to top up my paint, I found it all too tempting and came away with the new Necromunda game. (Early Christmas present perhaps!) I really like the models and I am planning to use the Fistful of Lead Reloaded (wild west) rules with modifications for playing the game. Again my aversion to overly detailed rules. Although, I am currently reading through the rule book and will use the rules when having a game with my Son on one of his visits. He has a preference to using a rule book and his youthful memory gives him a definite advantage.

Succumbing to temptation

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Too many units on the tabletop?

Over the last week or so I have been playing a few WW2 games as I try out some different rule options. But this post is not about the rule themselves, its about the dilemma of putting too many units on the table. To the point where unit numbers limit manoeuvring and a game turns into a bit of a slogging match. Every now and again I seem to forget about this when deciding upon the forces to game with.

A tad over crowded perhaps?
Not too crowded and a more enjoyable game


Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Spencer Smith Napoleonic Figures

I am now about two-thirds of the way through painting a collection of plastic Spencer Smith Napoleonic figures. From the remaining figures and a few ACW figure conversions (for artillery) I should be able to create 8 infantry units, 4 cavalry units and 6 artillery units. Then all should be just about done bar a few commanders and flag bearers.

Anyway I thought I would drag them all out for a few pictures and to help my motivation to complete the remaining units in the next two months.

The figures are painted in a simple (toy soldier) style representing Austrian/Russian and French armies from the Third Coalition 1805-1807.








Saturday, 11 November 2017

French Indian War campaign game 3 report

Game three saw the French defending a fort. Half their forces including their cannon were within the fort walls and the remaining four units positioned outside to harass the attacking British.

In this game I decided to make a modification to the shooting rules. This was aimed to benefit the effectiveness of units with fewer hits. So, units with four or more hits subtract one from the shooting dice. I did consider units with three or less hits having the option to re-roll hit dice when shooting, but stuck with the subtract one option for this game and may try re-rolling option in the next game.

Anyway, onto the pictures and game report...

French cannon fire is used to disrupt advancing British units in the opening moves.
The British quickly positioned their cannon and targeted the fort gates
Some well aimed shots quickly breached the walls
British light infantry move around the flank.
British units begin to advance upon the breach.
At this point in the game the advantage seemed to be with the British, having successfully breached the fort walls and forced once group of French harassing forces to retire behind the fort.

Highlanders advance as French units defend the breach 
French right flank units continued to harass attacking units
The attack continues as French units put up a strong defence
Light infantry launch an attack on the cannon which was proving to be very effective in defence
The British cannon is under threat as shielding units are eliminated by French units 
Defences hold firm
The light infantry attacks fail and British units prepare their final assault
The gallant French commander fell during the final assault, but other units within the fort took his place. 
The assault continues and the defence continues to hold
The assault finally fails to dislodge the defenders and the British commander is lost with his unit.
A good and close game which for a while looked like the British would have their third win. The French cannon proved the difference seeing off an assault from light infantry and supporting the defence of the breach. Giving the French their first campaign victory.