Christmas 2017 – Blucher Game

Today was meant to be a big multiplayer Blucher game. Unfortunately the weather kind of interrupted the plans, [Read more…]

6mm Spanish/Peninsular Buildings

I bought some buildings from Baccus Miniatures whilst at Hammerhead in Newark earlier this month. Amazingly given how little I’ve done recently (18mths) I have painted them over the bank holiday weekend.

The models themselves are nicely cast, with few blemishes and visible bubbles. The pack consisted of 2 large and 2 small buildings, the larger ones have a footprint of 60x60mm and the smaller ones 60x30mm. They also come with sabot bases, which are quite chunky and I’m not sure if I will use them or not.

6mm Spanish Buildings

A second look a Blucher and Brigade level games in general

This week Matt and I played Blucher again, my second time and the first for him. This time around I’d read the rules a bit more having printed the PDF (I had real [Read more…]

First thoughts on Blucher

A year or so ago when Blucher was released, Richard bought a copy and we said we would try it out aince it seemed basing agnostic and generally at the level we wanted to play Napoleonic games, namely with a Brigade as the movement element. Last night we finally got round to trying it out. When i knew we were playing i decided to buy the pdf which is my first issue. £20 for a PDF? Ouch. That is quite frankly gouging IMO. Mind you looking at the rest of the offerings, with card sets being around £28 and the hard copy rules at £40 then I got off lightly.

Anyway, on to the game. With Peninsular armies i put together a very small force with 2 Infantry corps and a cavalry corps for the French, and similar Divisions for the Anglo Portuguese. This seemed extremely small for the rules and indeed the Momentum (MO) rules only came into play once preventing Richard from moving his entire force. This system however seems pretty neat and i think we will like it. Maybe we should only have been using 2 dice instead of 3? I couldnt find it in the setup rules unfortunately, nor could i see anything for establishing how many turns there were. The game track has 30 turns on it but id imagine that for pickup/ meeting engagement type games you would not play a full day?

Overall we found the system to be enjoyable and quick. There were a few quirks which didn’t feel particularly right, melee seems riskless for attackers as the most damage you will recieve will be 2 fatigue while defenders can be swept away. My biggest concern is with the Corps Activation for the British. The scenario in the book (Fuentes) stipulates there are no corps but the army list for building forces says that in effect Divisions are corps. Queries on the Honour forum seem to have elicited a “are you stupid?” Type response from the author so I will play a few more games without questioning anything. As it was we didn’t use Commanders (feels a bit wierd not having commanders on table ) or artillery (most of the Peninsular artillery counts as attached batteries).

Battle of Palencia

On Wednesday I finally got to fight the game thrown up out of the latest version of the campaign system that occurred a couple of weeks ago now. Unfortunately starting a new job that week and the unavailability of gaming opponents meant we had to wait although the week before we tried out Fast Play Grande Armee with this scenario. It was not a success, although it was over quite quickly, the ruleset is not designed for playing such “small” forces rather its meant to fight Leipzig etc sized engagements.

Anyway, Mike came over to play the French of Victor’s Corps (played in the campaign by someone else) and I played my campaign role of Wellington, although Richard who should have been there to help me run the forces was unable to make it at short notice.

Mike’s already give a battle report here covering the first 10 odd turns. This afternoon I finished the battle off to the agreed turn limit, but the last turn and a half didn’t really change anything except killing a few more men on both sides. The British left attacked the French right but were repulsed almost all along the line, the only unit who got into melee ended the turn shaken along with it’s French opponent.

Here are a few pictures from the two sessions.

French left threatens and Picton forms Square

British Reinforcements march on

Overall shot midway

British view of the village and Spencer's Division

Last ditch attacks on the French Right

End of game on French Right

End result is the French lost 34 SP’s worth of troops, and the British lost 80. (Not including artillery losses from ammunition rolls).

The British and Portuguese have suffered badly from:

  • poor command dice (In retrospect, the decision to get the game underway quickly and rate all the generals the same (normal 1d6) was a bad one) meaning that few units got into contact
  • Wellington having to have 8 odd units under his direct control due to lack of their parent generals being present. This meant he couldn’t roam the field using his inherent points to help out subordinates
  • The inability to bombard the French lines prior to attacking due to the need to get on with things turn wise
  • The agreement that the game would be 12 turns long. I did this because I wanted the game done in a night, but PoW suggests that a normal day is 18 turns. The campaign is currently in late March, but to reduce the turns to 12 was IMO too extreme

The British are just getting to grips with the French line, and I think had the game been set for 14 or 16 turns instead of 12, the imbalance of losses so far would have been levelled out and a British victory might have been possible. What it feels like at the moment is we’ve done all the approach marching under fire and suddenly the day’s over.

What this and last weeks games have yet again raised is how difficult it is to port a campaign game to the table, play it and get a satisfactory resolution in a single evening. Either the rules are overly simple and bloody, and the game feels too arbitrary, or the rules play too long for the available time. This size battle was almost exactly what I’d hoped the campaign system was going to throw up, and yet it was too big for PoW and too small for Grande Armee (Or FPGA).

Somewhere in Spain – PoW AAR pt2

If you’re reading this, I hope you’ve read the first part otherwise it’s not going to make much sense to you! Got another two turns played today and the game has turned on it’s head from what I thought would happen. [Read more…]

Somewhere in Spain – PoW AAR Pt1

Having had a cracking game with Goat Major and Matt on Saturday and having the house to myself for the next few weeks during the day, I decided to leave the tables up and play a Napoleonic game solo, spacing the turns out while working on the Campaign System [Read more…]

Battle of Coruche pt1

After the abortive French attempt to cross the Rio Tagus at Abrantes, Ney fell back to Ponte de Sor to lick his wounds [Read more…]

Campaign System – Battle of Cuidad Rodrigo

A couple of weeks ago full of hope and anticipation I posted that our Peninsular War campaign. [Read more…]

Campaign System – We have a battle !

Wonders will never cease! After 25 turns of play, we finally have a battle to play out. Not that the campaign hasn’t been providing fun or challenging logistical headaches, [Read more…]