Monday, 12 December 2011

"You can't destroy the polish national-consciousness or Poles on the battlefield, but if you give them power, they will destroy themselves"

It was time for Bob and I to dust off our Impetus Armies for another go. We had spent a long time playing Impetus week in and week out but with various other things going on it seemed like ages since we had just done a straight forward one-on-one game of Impetus.

I brushed off my Medieval Polish army and Bob brought his Bactrians. 1600 years separated the two armies they seemed rather well matched.

I roled as the attacker so deployed last. However my game plan was to stay relatively stationary. Every time I have tried to be even slightly aggressive with this army they get battered so I was determined not to drawn in to a death charge.

I anchored my left with the an artillery armed war wagon and defensive wagon and then had two lots of crossbow armed miltia split by some medium crossbow armed cavalry and some light horse dead centre. Behind these and starting the game on opportunity were my three units of Polish Knights (because they were on opportunity the normal rules for impetuous troops moving as soon as the enemy were in range did not apply). Both wings contained some skirmishing light horse.

Bob set up with light horse on one wing. Then his Cataphract heavy cavalry. Next to them were a large unit of heavy pike in phalanx and then on his left some long spear armed light foot.

I knew that I had nothing that could go toe-to-toe with the pike phalanx so determined to keep that out of the game. I targeted the Cataphracts as the game winner and had deployed my Knights opposite them. The plan was to delay the rest of the enemy line while, weaken the Cataphracts by sacrificing the first line of my medium and light cavalry in my centre and then unleash the waiting Knights.

Bob came forward in a steady line. I advanced my light horse on the left in the hope of pushing aside the skirmishers and threatening the Pike Phalanx’s flank.

I had initial success on my right and burst through Bob’s skirmish line. However his heavy foot were tougher than they looked. I got greedy and rather than consolidate followed up a success and against my better judgement charged his light foot with some light horse. The result? Bobs light foot destroyed my light horse and then followed up in to the flank of some other bow armed light horse who couldn’t evade and were also destroyed.

However my right still looked pretty strong and my left was solid thanks to the presence of the war wagons. Bob could not get close enough on my left to do any damage with his bow armed light and medium cavalry so which came under artillery fire every time they got too close.

My cross bow armed medium cavalry and bow armed Hungarian light horse started inflicting casualties as Bob centre advanced. A charge by the Cataphracts saw the first line of my centre destroyed but this then opened the door for my Knights. Without delay the charged forward in to the Cataphtracts.

A bloody melee forward but in the last turn of the game I manage to knock off the last of the Cataphract units causing that command to break and in turn the army.

Finally a victory for my Poles which I have been playing for two years with hardly any success. The key was I think getting to deploy last and therefore before choose my point of focus, keeping my knights fresh by having them on opportunity and also some truly dreadful dice rolling by Bob.  In any event it was high fives all along the Polish line.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult.

Now lets get this out in the open, I LIKE Flames of War. I don't approve of their business model, I do not like all the fluff and nonsense that comes with the myriad of supplement books which seem more like figure catalogues than rule supplements but this does not detract from the fact I do like the core rules.
I think the game would play much better in 6mm or 10mm scales especially with tank heavy games. Game boards can start looking ridiculous with enemy vehicles literally a few inches from each other. 
However the game dynamics mean the tactical choices of players are realistic even if the game board may not reflect it. I bought the first version of the rules and at that time there were a lot of basic army lists in pdf format on their website covering the periods one needed.

If one sticks to this for army building and playing it is really good. If on the other hand you start using all the "heroes" and other nonsensical additions. John had expressed an interest in playing a WWII game and I had not played with my 15mm figures for ages so it seemed a great opportunity.  
I decided to referee and play scenario where a German Panzergrenadier Company was attacking a British/Indian Rifle Company.

I got the points a bit wrong in truth and the German never had a great chance of succeeding but it was interesting to see how it would play given that only Craig and I were familiar with the rules. Mick and Rob (B) played "zee germans" while Craig and John dug in and attempted to repel the armoured assault.
There were three objectives in the scenario being three built up areas. The British held these at the outset of the game and whomever held the most after 8 turns won. Simples. Some confusion over the ambush rule meant that the Germans managed to take the first of these in their very first turn. However thanks to some well place 6pdr AT guns and an ambush of a Sherman/Firefly platoon on the Germans Stug Platoon the Germans quickly ran out of momentum.
There as tit-for-tat engagements on the German left as the Firely knocked out some German tanks and then some German "88's" battered the British Tanks. The problem being that the German soon ran out of mobile armour to protect their infantry. They go bogged down in the first objective and had very little in the way of options to try and move forward.
A lack of supporting artillery for the Germans compounded the issue. The game was reduced to 6 turns due to lack of time and the British easily held the remaining 2 objectives.
My lack of playing this game really showed in the preparation.
The two forces was too easily balanced for an attack/defence game with the Germans lacking enough punch to ever be able to winkle out the dug in British infantry. It is back to the drawing board for army list but a scenario that will be worth trying again.
The opinion on FOW was mixed. Some surprised at how slow it played but I think this was down to lack of experience of all involved. Once you get familiar with the process and the dice dynamic (1 is always bad, 6 is always good) it can play much faster.
I will be playing Blitzkrieg Commander which I have never played before but have wanted to try for ages. It will be interesting to compare the two.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Hulk in Space, Incredible!

We had not managed to get a “proper” game organised so as a last minute thing Rob (B) brought his Space Hulk board game. It had been years since any of us had played this but we knew it would be ideal to get a few games in on an evening as it was the older set with the egg timer for the Space Marines! (this means the Space Marine player has to make sure he has done all his moves within about 2 minutes.

Rob (B) had set up a basic scenario where 5 marines had to get through and flame a next room. They would have to fight their way through a hoard of randomly spawning Gene Stealers to do it.

The game is about as simple as it can get with a single dice roll deciding all ranged and melee combat.

Thanks to some awful rolling on the part of the Space Marines they appear to have weapons which were in fact less reliable than firearms of 40000 years previously. You would have thought in that time one would have worked on the reliability of firearms. In one turn I rolled a double 1 jamming a weapon. I then spent some action points un-jamming it only roll another double 1 and it jam again! Needless to say the unfortunate Marine’s head was soon a Gene Stealers Hat.

The Marines luck did not improve through the night and they did not manage to win one game regardless who was playing them.

Space Hulk is one of those games where the simple game play belies what is in fact quite a challenging tactical game that has more depth than I had thought previously. I think the more one plays it the more these depths would be revealed.

We managed about 5 games in 2 hours with a lot of fun and it made a nice break from the historical games we have been playing recently and the simple nature of the game allowed for a lot of trash talk and banter and general chit-chat which is after all my strong point!.

The game also got us all nostalgic about all those other games from our youth such as; Chainsaw Warrior, Judge Dredd and Car Wars.  Craig left determined to dust off his copy of Dark Future and arrange a game soon. I’m already looking forward to it.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Sound drums and trumpets! Farewell, sour annoy; For here I hope begins our lasting joy!

An enjoyable Impetus game using Rob (B) 6mm Wars of the Roses figures and the Nano- Towton scenario available off the Baccus website.

Due to my Yorksist leanings I volunteered to take control of Edward IVs army and Bob took command of the Lancastrians.

This game will be remember for my spectacular feat of managing to have a unit of light horse successfully charged by a unit of dismounted men-at-arms, uphill and in the flank! An achievement we believe unequalled in wargaming annals! To be fair to me it was a simple error in that the miniatures were so small I thought the men-at-arms were facing the opposite way. (not the first time I have made this mistake).

It was decided that to reflect the fact that the Lancastrians were facing in to the blizzard they would have a range modifier per turn. Their range would be reduced by the score of an average dice per turn with the dice being re-rolled every turn.

The two armies closed and I made my first mistake by closing the distance much too quick between me and the enemy and so negating any range advantage I would get. The two armies were close enough now that any range modifier against Bob had little effect.

My Norfolk reinforcements arrived as an extra unit of Retinue Billmen and marched up the road on my right.

Unfortunately at the same time Bob launched a flank marched ambush from the woods to my right.

I moved my aforementioned light horse round on the left hoping that they would give Bob’s right something to think about while I concentrated on the centre. I was outnumbered and could not afford to fight all along my line, as such I wanted to avoid contact on the left, fight a holding action on the right and try and force the issue in the centre where things were a bit more evenly matched.

This was an OK plan apart from the fact that; as I said I had given up any ranged advantage I had by closing too quickly.

An archery duel now took place in the centre with each side trying to cause enough disruption to the enemy bow to be able to advance to contact.

Meanwhile Bob’s heavy cavalry moved steadily down the road on my right. Contacting and destroying Nolfolk who was only just approaching the line. This meant that like an over zealous proctologist, Bob’s heavy cavalry was now rather uncomfortably in my rear.

The now infamous light horse incident happened. I trotted across the - what I thought was the rear of some dismounted heavy foot in order the threaten the rear of Bob’s centre. This unit was slightly uphill of the foot. What I did not know is that Bob had in fact managed to turn this unit round in a previous turn and they were facing their rear. They promptly charged. I was caught in the flank so could not evade and so took a massive impact from these heavy foot resulting in an inevitable defeat and loss of that unit.

Meanwhile Bob’s archers were starting to get the upper hand in the centre. I was now outnumber 3:2 in the archers in the centre but did have an extra base of heavy foot. I decided at this stage that I had lost the archery so had to close as soon as possible and so began a general advance in the centre.

At this very point Bob’s heavy cavalry charged in to the rear of my centre units going through them like a hot knife through butter.

A rapid loss of 3 units in my centre including my general meant a loss of that command and the army.

A resounding win for Bob and the House of Lancaster.

I played this game really badly. Concentration is always a problem for me as I’m chatting away and too busy gassing to pay any attention to little things like, a wargame going on! Still despite being outnumbered the armies were pretty evenly matched and it was stupid mistakes that led to a crushing defeat for Edward and a serious set back for the House of York.

Monday, 26 September 2011

“I have conquered an Empire but I have not been able to conquer myself”

A first attempt at using the “Le Roi Soleil” warfare in the 18th Century supplement for Impetus.

Rob (B) has a bunch of 6mm Great North War miniatures which we thought would be ideal for this. The army lists provided on the Impetus website are mostly for the War of Spanish Succession but it was a relatively easy to throw together a Russian and Swedish army list given the period. A bit of tweaking meant that the Swedish player would be encouraged to close to melee while the Russian player would be better engaging with firearms.

These were basic army list to enable us to play a stand up fight and keep things relatively simple as it was our first time with the Supplementary rules.

The good news is we already knew the core rules from the amount of Impetus we play for the ancient, medieval and 17th Century games we play of which my earlier blogs have commented on.

The major change is in command and control which varies the command radius rule. Basically the whole of the army must remain in touch with the general though this radius can be extended by Wing Commanders.

There is also an option to disengage and a variant of the “pilum rule” for cavalry using pistols depending on whether a nature of nation’s cavalry doctrine is Shock or Non-Shock.

I took the role of the Russian with Rob (B) taking the Swedes. I deployed in three commands. On the left were three lines of Non-Shock Cavalry with two horse batteries deployed to their front. To their right were two commands of two lines of infantry with two foot batteries on either flank. On the extreme right were two units of Cossacks which were assigned to the right command.

Rob (B) deployed his infantry similarly but with his foot batteries placed together on his right. On the extreme right he deployed half his cavalry looking to sweep around a wood for a flanking manoeuvre. The Remaining Cavalry was formed up on the left.

Things started bizarrely when for the first initiative roll we both rolled double six’s. A draw and both commanders going up a level!

I advanced my Russians only a short way so as not to spoil the fields of fire for my artillery which was spread along the length of my line. I advanced my horse artillery slightly to make sure they would be in range once the Swedes inevitably advanced to contact.

Initially I had the best of it with pouring musketry in to the advancing Swedes and on one roll getting 4 six’s from 6 dice! (6’s being hits in this game).

The first line of Swedes was being punished but the fresh troops behind waited eagerly.

Rob (B) could have used the “passage of lines” rule in the supplement to move his fresh troops through the ones which were now getting somewhat thread bare. However he decided against this because of the risk of not getting the initiative. – In a turn each side nominates a command and then rolls, the highest score activates there nominated command. This continues through the turn until all commands have been activated. As such it is possible (if your lucky) to conclude a turn by activating your remaining inactive command and firing on the enemy. Then nominating it first the following turn and getting another round of fire before the enemy get to close-

Rob (B) decision paid off as I managed to get more musketry in to the advancing Swedes before he charged home. Initially the Swedish infantry did not have a huge impact but this was because the front units had been so weakened by the Russian fire as they closed. However it was not long before the fresh units were in contact and they really started to go to work on the Russian centre.

The Russian right was a cavalry versus infantry battle which thanks to us forgetting the fact that the infantry were sporting pikes and so should have had the benefit of the long spear rule was a much more even match than it should have been. These units continued to trade blows.

On the left I had a line of cavalry that went to support the Russian infantry in the centre and protect the artillery while my remaining horse wheeled slightly to the right to be ready for Rob (B’s) flank attack (if it ever made it around the woods!).

The centre was a bloody affair with no quarter asked or given. In an amazing turn of countless rolled 6’s both commands managed to annihilate each other. Suddenly there was a wide open space in the middle of the battlefield where the Russians and Swedes had fought themselves to a standstill.

Both of us had lost one command each. Whoever lost the next command lost the game.

The outcome on the Russian left was now academic as Rob (B)’s flank march would not arrive in time and the Russian Cavalry was too far away to influence the outcome on the right.

On the right the Russian infantry continued to face down charge after charge of Swedish Cavalry. It came down to both commands being so weakened that the next lost unit would decide the game. Luckily I won the initiative roll and got to act first and so charged my Cossack light horse in the flank of some very already shattered Swedish horse. The charge carried and destroyed the Swedes. Rob (B) could not finish of my engaged infantry and so his Command broke and mine stood meaning a narrow and somewhat Pyrrhic victory for Russia.

We both felt that having played Polemos and Black Powder for this period this was the best set of rules for getting a game finished in an evening. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as with the Black Powder Rules but they are fast, simple and the national rule variants do lead the player to play in line with that Nations accepted tactical doctrine.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Hard Day on the Fosse Way.

Battle of Stow-on-the-Wold.

A English Civil War game using the Baroque supplement for Basic Impetus.

This was a historical refight of one of the closing battles of the Civil Wars with a motley crew of poor quality Royalist garrison troops defending a ridge against Parliaments New Model.

I was for the King and had a good position, occupying a long ridge that ran the width of the battle field. That was the extent of the good news. Other than three units of reasonable galloping horse my foot was pretty poor and I was up against the best that Mr Cromwell and his friends had to offer.

All I had to do though was hang on for 2 hours or so, hold the ridge and stop my army from routing. (Historically the Royalist stood for a whole half-an-hour before fleeing).

Opposite me was a mixture of good quality foot and trotting horse and units of Dragoons. Each side was also given a single artillery battery but we agreed that these would have a single dice shot (needing “6” in order to cause casualties.

We also reduced the musket range down to half the distance of those stated in the Basic Rules.

One draw back was that I had to deploy as per the historical account which meant I had a pretty thin line with cavalry on the wings and my better troops scattered along the line amongst the poorer garrison troops. Ideally I would have liked to concentrate my better troops or at least deploy some as a reserve behind the ridge.

To begin with I was doing very little. I had superior cavalry on the right so advanced these off the hill to threaten Micks left and give his Centre something to think about. Micks centre was very strong with three crack regiments of foot.

On the right I had some more galloping horse and a single unit of dragoons. I was outnumbered here but wanted to try and mess the lines up a bit to make it difficult for Mick to re-deploy and turn in to my flank if/when he got past this wing.

Mick had clearly decided to start with an assault on the left of my line. He advanced his trotting horse and dragoons and they were soon exchanging fire with my own dragoons. The first of many dreadful saving throws resulted in my dragoons being swept aside. I responded with a charge down the hill in to Mick’s advancing cavalry. The swept through one unit of trotting horse before following up in to a second and being shot to pieces my the trotters horse pistols.

Straight away my left was looking problematic.

On the right my cavalry sat staring at a regiment of foot supported by a cavalry regiment but there was no need to advance on to them. The longer the enemy stayed put the better my chances of a win.

In the centre the Parliamentarian crack units advanced on my garrison troops with grim inevitability.

I had one good unit of Foot and a weakened unit of Cavalry remaining on the left but they were massively outnumbered. I opted to withdraw these off the ridge but not too far. This would keep them out of harms way in the short term while being too much of a threat to allow Micks right to turn in to my centre (a refused flank if you like).

The musketry began in earnest in the centre now and the grim reality of the situation became apparent. After some more disastrous saving throws I immediately lost a regiment of foot and two others were significantly weakened. As a result I had a single dice for each of my remaining three units while Mick was rolling on 4 dice per each of his regiments. At this point there was no point in Mick closing with me as it was quite obvious it was only a matter of time before he could shoot me off the hill with minimum risk to his own forces.

I was nervously looking at my watch now, counting the minutes before the game ended. I was tempted to spend precious minutes rule hunting during my turn but this was not the Cavalier thing to do.

I still had a fresh infantry unit and two units of fresh cavalry on the right. I stripped one of the cavalry regiments to bolster the centre and but the writing was already on the wall.

Micks Dragoons and Cavalry pressed forward in to my refused left flank and in quick succession knocked out a further infantry unit and the weakened cavalry unit. This took my army past the break point and my army routed.

A decisive victory for Parliament with Mick losing only 2 units to my 5. However I can be quietly please that at least I lasted longer than the royalist on the day!

Given all I had to do was hold on I think I should have done more to actually slow the advance of Mick’s troops. My choices were limited by the deployment but still though I never had a shot at beating the New Model, I think I could have held them just for a bit long. The game ended after 1 ½ hours of the 2 hours allotted. Just half-an-hour longer…….

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Not How Many but Where.

My first foray in to Hail Caesar this week.

A few of us were involved as there was quite a bit of interest in how it would play. Lon has brought enough toys for two armies (though some were still sporting their black undercoat) so it would be Spartans and their Allies versus the Athenians in a straight up slogging match.

The Hail Caesar rules are really easy to pick up if you have ever played Warmaster, or any of the Warhammer derivatives. Shooting and combat revolve around a “Hit”, “Wound”, “Save” dynamic, namely three rolls to determine how many casualties a unit takes. Each of these rolls may be modified by tactical factors and special rules. This makes it easy to get used to, easy to remember and easy to play.

Movement and Orders is exactly the same as Black Powder with “Brigade” commanders giving orders to their Brigades or Units and then rolling to see if the orders are successfully interpreted/implemented.

What is good about this game is the distance the two opponents can cover quickly with good command rolls. In a game such as this where there is little sweeping manoeuvre and much more rumbling forwards while trash talking the enemy.

I had deployed with my strongest Spartan Hoplite unit to the centre with a screen of Helots to their front and a supporting Lacedaemian Hoplite behind them. On the left was another two units of Lacedaemian Hoplites again screened by some small units of skirmishing Helots.

The Athenians lined up with two Hoplite phalanxes facing my Spartans with some cavalry, skirmishers and a final Hoplite Unit facing my left. I was out flanked slightly on both sides but felt the "Shock and Awe" would win the day with a death or bust charge right up the centre.

Between the two armies was a sunken road which may cause disruption to the whomever crossed it.

Things got of to a good start and my Spartan Juggernaut hunkered down and headed straight for the heart of the Athenian line. On my left Chris sent his horse galloping forward forcing a unit of my Lacedaemians to form a defensive formation to avoid being charged in the flank.

The Skirmishers on both side exchanged stones from their slings but with little effect other than to push them back behind their heavier brothers.

Finally as I approached the sunken road I gave my Spartans a Charge order to try and get to grips with the Athenians as soon as possible. I trotted up to the road to low and behold find a unit of Elite Athenian Hoplites waiting for me in the dead ground. I bundled in to them and amidst much grunting and swearing and the odd somewhat homophobic jape, the real tussle began.

I had lost my charge bonus but I was still a superior unit to the Athenians. I chose not to lock shields (where I would lose on attacking dice but gain on saving throws) and went all in. Initially the Athenian who had locked shields held their ground.

Unfortunately what this meant was that the Athenian helots could fire over the heads of my Spartans (who were below them in the sunken road) at my supporting unit with impunity.

However this only lasted a round or two before the Spartans burst through the best that Athens had to offer and followed up in to a supporting Athenian phalanx. They were somewhat weaker at this stage and things would not prove so easy. On the Spartan right, an overlapping unit of Athenian Hoplites marched past then and charged my supporting Lacedaemians.

One of Chris’ Hoplite units charged my only non-engaged Lacedaemian unit and battle was joined in earnest as all my troops were now engaged.

The slugfest commenced with units all along the line trading tit-for-tat blows with the momentum swinging one way and then the other as the Gods played their games with us.

In the end I think it was a somewhat pyrrhic victory for Sparta, they had caused the greatest damage and “looked” the stronger but they did not hold the field.

I enjoyed the Hail Caesar rules but have to say that I do not see what there is to attract the player that already has Warmaster (though perhaps slightly faster play).

Monday, 8 August 2011

Somewhere in northwest India……..

I have been a bit lax of late with games and subsequent games reports recently.  As such Bob was kind enough to write a rather excellent report  following a game at the club between him and Mick last week.

A fictional conflict using historical opponents, later Skythians with a combination of light horse archers and cataphracts coming to blows with a contemporary Indian force featuring lots of infantry longbows supported by light javelin armed foot, a couple of elephant units, a chariot force and some pretty dreadful cavalry.
We actually messed up both the terrain and deployment rules within Impetus but we carried on regardless. As might be expected the more mobile Skythians cavalry advantage forced the Indians to deploy first on to a pretty featureless plain. I was commander of the Skythians and Mick the Indians. He lined his eight archer units across the battlefield with a light infantry unit at each end. Two Cavalry units formed up slightly rearward at each end to prevent envelopment and his elephants and chariot in the rear. My side split into unequal lumps (lumps because they have a poor command structure so need to stay up close and personal with their generals), four light horse with four cataphract units in support on my left, three light horse with a single cataphract unit and further light horse to their rear on my right.

The Skythians rolled forward a little, the Indians advanced enough to get in long range bowshot range. The Indian longbow isn’t in the same class as the English medieval type and his shooting reflected this, as did mine when I rode units forward to reply. Not a hit (sixes or double fives) was recorded from the first 11 dice rolled! However with units relatively weak in strength (VBU) once hits started to occur units could quickly crumble.
First blood to the Skythians, on the right the light javelin armed foot decided to scarper after a couple of hits. Mick replied on his left where he shot down a horse archer unit that got too close and too cocky (it could have evaded out of range but I didn’t take the option).
Mick lost a longbow unit on his left and rode his general’s elephant unit into the resulting gap to fill it and bring the various missile weapons an elephant unit has to bear on the Skythians threatening his weakening infantry line. A bold, but ultimately doomed move as it turned out. The Skythian cataphracts on this side of the battlefield were further wide than the enemy elephant general and forced the Indian cavalry to fight them or be shot to pieces by horse archery. Indian cavalry are the only thing that doesn’t shoot in their army.

 Unfortunately they don’t fight very well, in pretty short order both such units were gone and the cataphracts were beyond the Indian flank. They’d taken a casualty though and attracted the interest of the second elephant; this spent the rest of the game trying to get at them. Mick’s elephant mounted General was now his left flank guard and the Skythian horse archers fancied elephant burgers for tea. Their constant sniping sapped its strength pretty rapidly.

On the left the Skythian shooting weakened the longbow units they faced. The cataphracts behind rolled forward to try and triple move into them. It didn’t work and instead stalled directly in front of them in a disorderly fashion. The longbows stepped forward to minimal range and rolled fistfuls of dice. Hits were recorded but no units lost as cataphracts are tough units to kill off quickly. On their next activation they girded their loins, dressed their ranks and rumbled into the archers, killing three units of them and then riding through the line to be faced by an Indian Prince in a chariot.

The Skythians had done a lot of damage but it was spread across two commands. The Indians had taken out only one enemy unit but had weakened several, including both Skythian General’s units. Both sides thought they could end things in their favour in one last turn….
Mick successfully activated both his commands before either Skythian. His dice failed him in pretty much every other way. He couldn’t clear disorder with the elephant trying to run down my right flank General so no melee and ineffective shooting saved him. On the other side of the field multiple longbow shots failed to finish off the other Skythian commander and the chariot didn’t land a hit on the cataphracts facing it.

The game was won when a veritable swarm of horse archers surrounded and took turns to pepper the Indian General astride his elephant. Finishing him off took his command to 50% losses and so they fled, which in turn took the whole Indian army to 50% and so they gave up and went home.
An excellent game (well I would say that, they were all my toys and I won!) which went down to the wire.
Skythian tribesmen have now acquired some nice new territories in northwest India; just a few Greek cities will need subduing before they can really settle down for a “Kush(an)y” lifestyle….just like what really happened.

Friday, 5 August 2011

“ Conscience is but a word that cowards use, devised at first to keep the strong in awe”

What with people being on holiday and my Wife upping her socialising (leaving me literally holding the baby) it has been a few weeks since I’ve been able to get to the club and organise a game.

Bob has been putting the finishing touches to a War of the Roses Campaign which I think will begin in earnest next week. This week though as it had been a while we opted for a “warm up” game of Impetus using Rob (B)’s 6mm Wars of the Roses miniatures.

I have a soft spot for the Richard III so I donned my Planta genista and prepared to take on the pretender and his mercenaries.

I had 4 units of Retinue Bow, the same of Retinue Billmen, some Swiss Mercenary pike, my King and the Retinue of impetuous heavy cavalry and two units of dismounted men-at-arms. Bob and Rob be were the house of Lancaster and they had slightly more units but lacked the dismounted men-at-arms.

I deployed with dismounted men-at-arms in the centre, flanked by 2 units of bowmen who in turn had the billmen behind them. The rules for the period allow units of heavy foot to interpenetrate the bowmen in front so this is a useful deployment for softening up the enemy before charging home. My mercenary pike were formed in to a large unit on the far right and my Nobles started the game on “opportunity” behind the line. As the noble Cavalry were impetuous I placed them on opportunity as this would prevent them having to compulsory move once the enemy came within 30cm.

Bob and Rob split their army in to two commands separated by a stand of trees to their front. Rob (B) had mercenary crossbow and retinue archers supported by a large unit of Irish warband and a unit of light horse. Bob had 2 units of bowmen and 2 units of billmen deployed the same as mine with his commanders retinue of impetuous heavy cavalry immediately behind.

Because of the stand of trees separating the two commands I realised that I had an opportunity to try and pin one command and hold on while focusing my strength and destroying the other. The question was which one.

I moved forward slightly to narrow the gap between me and the stand of trees, this would prevent Bob and Rob (B) from joining up once past. I then pushed my dismounted men-at-arms forward in front of my line. My logic here was if the enemy wanted to take on the men-at-arms they would be exposed to flanking fire from the bowmen. If they attacked the bow/bill units then risked being charged in the flank by the men-at-arms.

Rob (B) opted to try and take on my men-at-arms and moved his Irish Warband across to engage them. This meant however that they had to move across the front of 2 of my bow units and in doing so they sustained heavy casualties. He finally got in to contact but was so weakened that he bounced off my men-at-arms, who promptly counter charged and wiped them out. A good start for me thanks to some lucky dice rolling.

At the same time Rob (B) has sent his light horse round the back of my line and attacked one of my Billmen units from the rear. Again I managed to survive and Rob (B)’s disastrous saving throw meant that he also lost this unit. However the move had been enough for me to activate my Nobles and bring them over to my right as to deal with the threat.

As things stood at this point I had a good position. I had a strong line and had pushed a wedge between the two wings of the enemy all I needed to do now was decide what part of the enemy line I should look to destroy and what side to keep pinned. I decided that I would go for enemy on my left as I was not sure the numbers on the right were sufficient for a game win.

I swept aside the enemy bow and the billmen were now vulnerable from attack from their front and from each side by my mercenary pike and dismounted men-at-arms. Unfortunately I was then to a somewhat cheesy but legal manoeuvre by Bob. My mercenaries had come within 30cm of his mounted nobles who were impetuous. This meant they had to advance. They could not penetrate the friendly billmen to their front so the bill men had to be placed behind the nobles, out of range of all my foot who now would have to deal with fresh heavy cavalry rather than disordered heavy foot.

The enemy heavy cavalry made short work of my mercenary pike (who had already been weakened by enemy bow fire) then went through my bowmen but found harder work trying to see off the bill men behind. Meanwhile my nobles had done an about turn and were galloping to the rescue. On my right the two wings traded bowfire from a reasonably safe distance.

Unfortunately again we ran out of time before completing a game. We had not seen each other for a few weeks and this combined with Rob (B) producing box of fresh Krispy Kreme donuts meant that there had been a lot of gossiping and not enough dice rolling (of which I was no doubt the main culprit). I am fairly confident that Bob’s position was starting to look problematic and a few more turns may have led to a win for the House of York.

Hopefully we will press on with the Wars of the Roses Campaign from next week so lets hope this time York can not only win the battles but also win and keep hold of the crown!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

The world is grown so bad, that wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch".

Impetus is fast becoming the rule  set of choice for nearly all our games recently.  I think this is because it lends itself so well to different scales and periods.  The Baroque supplement is excellent for ECW/TYW games and the Basic set is ideal for a quick game if time is of the essence.

So it was using the Basic Rules that Rob (B) had devised a scenario for a re-fight of the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Being for Impetus Basic the armies were kept to about 12 stands aside.  I chose to be Richard as I do have a bit of a soft spot for him.  Mick and Rob (B) played Henry and John (S) was the Stanley.

Stanley deployed on my extreme right but his loyalty, as we know was questionable.  The rule was that he would come off the fence and fight for the side that destroyed an enemy stand.

Both side deployed with a line of longbow men in front of their dismounted men-at-arms and bill men (the rules allow for these units to interpenetrate without penalty.)  In addition each side has a stand of impetuous heavy cavalry.

Both armies began to rumble towards each other in to bow range and in typical Richard style he outstripped his foot troops with his cavalry and isolating himself.  I had a unit off Staves (light horse) which charged some Tudor skirmishers on the right but following a disastrous roll (see below) I failed to cause a casualty and was then disposed of clinically by these light troops.  This meant that first blood had gone to Henry and I found myself with Stanley to my rear and throwing his lot in with the enemy!

Things looked quite bad for me at this point.  Richard's cavalry looked doomed as they were isolated and I could not withdraw them due to their impetuous nature and I had a unit off bow and a I unit of bill men to my rear.  However I did outnumber Henry in the Centre.  What I needed to do was smash through hear and go for the points win before I got surrounded.

I had a unit of Irish heavy infantry that I had kept behind the battle line as a reserve and I turned them to face Stanley.  I was in bow range and so started to exchange volleys with the enemy.  Things went well for me here.  I softened up the bow, Mick then decided to commit his melee troops and marched through his bow units ready to charge my bowmen.   I had judged the distance here quite well for once and managed to disorder most of his melee troops before charging through my bowmen in to contact with them.  I had the advantage of fresh troops who were not disordered and it told.  I caused a lot of damage to his centre.

However Richard and his Heavy cavalry had been destroyed which gave Mick and Rob (B) a bunch of victory points.

Rob (B)'s Lancastrian heavy cavalry had been disordered and lost a casualty so were lacking their impetus bonus.  They were forced to charge a unit of fresh bill men.  This looked like it would be decisive.  If I could have finished this unit off it would have given me a points win.

Unfortunately things did not go exactly according to plan.  Rob (B) had manouvred his skirmishes and a unit of mercenary crossbow on to my right flank however they were blocked by Henry and his knights.  I had the Tudor pretender on the ropes put they managed to break off.  Because they had lost half their strenght they were not forced to charge again and this opened up my left to the Rob (B)'s flanking troops and their volleys was enough to finish off some weakened bowmen.  John has seen off my Irish foot and was marching in to my rear.  The Lancastrians now had enough points for a win unless I could force a draw by destroying one more unit of the enemy heavy foot.  

Unfortunately I didn't managed it and the game ended with a win for Henry Tudor.

A fun game with lots of discussion about the actual battle and a historical result.  A great little scenario for a club night and the special rule for Stanley did provide some extra depth.