Advisory Note

Please Note: This blog contains poorly painted toy soldiers that may offend those of an aesthetically sensitive disposition.

Friday, 20 March 2020

Nothing to report

1st & 2nd battalions The Guards - more figures kindly donated by Ross Mac

The 12 parade in honour of the late Donald Featherstone (thanks for the heads up Mark) 

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Lack of Productivity Update



Even though February was longer (and stormier) than usual, here at Maudlin Towers there has been a definite dearth in the hobby department. I have half-written (and ditched) a set of Campaign Rules - far too complicated and bogged down by Lines of Communication and Attrition Calculations - and done precious little else, after what was, for me, quite a productive Christmas/New Year period. A far simpler rule set will follow.

The one bright note - I have sorted and started tentatively basing some of the figures kindly donated by Ross Mac (see here). The following I have named the Brigadier General; he's a delightful conversion and will lead the Guards (who are currently being based in the house style and given a coat of varnish). Note, his horse has lost it's tail. I was going to replace it but decided against as there could be a story behind this caudal calamity - perhaps an enemy cannon ball removed the appendage; there by hangs a tale (or rather, it doesn't).

Hopefully March will bring some table top action. Until next time, happy gaming.

A trick of the tail...

Thursday, 16 January 2020

A well trodden battlefield

For my second test battle using the The Portable Napoleonic Wargame rules, I set up the board roughly as described in the very first wargame report I read.




The same Brigades as the last game fought for the crossings of the River Trimsos. The game was to be 15 turns with Exhaustion Point at 30% casualties. Yellow's objective was to take both crossings and hold them until the end of the game.

Initial dispositions - Yellow attacking Lilac Defending

Yellow marches boldly onto the New Bridge under heavy fire

Light Infantry exchange fire at the Old Bridge

Yellow falling back having lost one battalion

The Old Bridge is taken by Lilac who have out-flanked Yellow

Yellow reaches Exhaustion Point

End of the Game. Lilac has successfully defended the bridges

I'm currently planning a mini-Campaign using the Risk figures and PNW - more on this anon.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Take the Village - A Portable Napoleonic Wargame

Following is a report of my first attempt at playing the Portable Napoleonic Wargame by Bob Cordery using the Risk playing pieces featured in the last blog post.  The objective of the game was to take, and be holding, a hilltop village overlooking an important road, at the end of the game (end of Turn 15). Exhaustion Point (EP) is set at 30% casualties. 

Objective

Opening positions

The opposing armies close in on the objective

Yellow's Light Infantry occupy the wooded area East of the Village

Schoolboy Error! Cavalry in column charge an Infantry Square

Intense fighting on the hilltop


One point short of EP, Lilac send an Infantry unit rushing into the village, exposing their flank to enemy fire. With only a few turns left, the hope was to hold position until the end of the game. Yellow realise that they may not be able to achieve success by fire power alone in a built up area; led by their Commander, an Infantry battalion charge in with fixed bayonets.  I must confess that at this point I had a breakdown in confidence regarding my understanding of the rules; I couldn't decide how to play a melee involving more than one unit attacking a single defending unit (Bob has kindly sorted this out for me since!). This relapse led to Lilac holding on until the end of the game, when really the defending unit could have been attacked by a second Line Infantry Battalion.  

Final position - Lilac's Infantry hold on with 1SP remaining!
The next post will report another battle with the PNW rules.  

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Dipping a (metaphorical) toe into Napoleonic Wargames

I've always liked the idea of wargaming the "Napoleonic" period but have been put off by the apparent complexity and scale of the task, and, to be honest, because this is the domain of Historical Wargamers who know how many buttons were on a tunic (and what colour the thread was). Reading Paddy Griffith's book recently got me interested again and Bob Cordery provide a set of rules I felt I could tackle.

PNW

As I don't have sufficient numbers of figures prepared for this game, I'm currently using "Risk" figures; I have enough of these to fight at Brigade level. In PNW, a standard Brigade consists of 3 battalions of Line Infantry, a detachment of Light Infantry, a regiment of cavalry and a battery of artillery, all led by a Brigadier General. The Brigade size and composition could of course vary to some extent. The following pictures demonstrate how my units fit into the different formations required in the game.

Regular Infantry battalions in Line (top), Column (middle) & Square (base)

Cavalry Regiment in Column (left) and Line (right)

Light Infantry in Line (top) and Dispersed (base) formations

A Brigade in full

Having played the Portable Wargame (PW) for some time I already understand the basics of PNW; the latter is, however, a bit more complex and has some differences in mechanics (more on this later). I've played a couple of games and will be reporting them here soon. Suffice it to say, I'm enjoying the game and looking forward to doing a bit more Napoleonic Wargaming! 


Friday, 3 January 2020

Really up the junction

Source of the featured Scenario

In his Guide to Solo Wargaming (1988 Argus Books), the late Stuart Asquith (SA) included some intriguing scenarios. The following is my attempt at one of these, Francs-Tireurs.

Context
I have set the scenario in my imaginary continent of Uqbal where local tribesmen are attempting to disrupt the Colonists' communications by sabotaging a railway junction. SA set the original in the Franco-Prussian War (hence his title Francs-Tireurs, as they are the irregulars attacking the railway).
The junction is guarded by a contingent of Light Infantry from Albionia's primary colony, Indra. They are based in a Storage Depot with one man on guard. Each turn 1d6 is rolled; on a score of 5 or 6 the sentry will notice the approaching attacking force.

Note on Rules 
SA provides some very simple rules but only in outline. I have attempted to keep as close as possible to the spirit of these - where decisions have to be made, eg can an Infantryman in the building fire on a particular man outside, the answer is left to the discretion of the player. 
The Rules

The starting position for pairs of attackers was rolled for. In Game 1 they all started at the West side of the board. The Storage Depot was described by SA as "a quite large if somewhat ruinous affair" perhaps suggesting it had been attacked before. SA's plan of the game also included some huts (omitted) and coal storage bunkers. The latter were included in Game 1 but changed to a wall in Game 2 to allow more cover for the attackers. The principle target is the points; a charge can be set on the points if 2 men can spend 2 turns on them without being in melee or shot.

 First Game
Layout Game 1

Sentry

Attackers approach, alarm still not raised

Finally spotting the attack the sentry runs for the depot

Firing at the rear

An attack on the doorway fails at first

Then succeeds

The last guard is killed
Second Game 
Opening positions

The sentry spots the approaching tribesmen

Fire fight underway

The sentry falls

Guards are kept busy whilst the chief heads for the points

Placing the charges

Running for cover before...

Kaboom! (special effects by MaudlinFX)


A fun scenario that could be played in any period that has railways. It would perhaps benefit from slightly more sophisticated rules but the simple ones suited me for a quick game or two.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

A couple more One Hour Wargame Scenarios

Introduction

New Year's Eve saw a couple more ACW games played using the Portable Wargame rules and One Hour Wargames (OHW) Scenarios.
Having failed to get passed one Union force (here), General Gilder sent another to establish a bridgehead to the North East, as prelude to a decisive push towards Washington.

OHW #5 Bridgehead

In this scenario, troops of both armies arrive at predetermined turns; the Confederates at one point on the South of the field, the Federals at one of 3 locations determined randomly. The actual units were also determined randomly as they arrived. The Rebel objective was to complete the game with no Union units within 2 grid squares North of the river. The Union's objective was simply to stop the Confederate Army achieving this, thus not allowing a Bridgehead to be established.  

Red dice show Union arrival locations, blue shows Confederate

The Rebels start to arrive

More troops appear

Another bottleneck forms!

Union cavalry in action. The infantry holds back waiting for their turn...

..which never happens.
By taking far too long to get his force over the river, the over-cautious Confederate commander became stuck; not wishing to risk his own troops by firing into the melee at the front of the line he was forced to wait and wait for a conclusion. Time ran out and he was compelled to withdraw.
Although not a very satisfactory game, my conclusion was, s**t happens so what would they do next?

OHW #15 Fortified Defence

Having received reinforcements, the Federal commander determined to pursue the retreating Rebels and reduce them to a point where they could no longer pose a viable threat (>50% casualties). The Confederate commander looked to do better in defence that he had done during his attack of the previous day and withdrew to two fortified camps.
Note: As I didn't have suitable models for the fortified positions I was forced to craft something on the hoof so to speak. Hard to believe looking at them, I know...
The Confederate commander must garrison each  fortified position with one unit that cannot then move. I gave the garrisons' a firing bonus and attackers a penalty when firing on the fortified positions. Grey's objective was to hold both positions; Blue's was to take both or reduce the enemy to below 50%.

The retreating Rebel force arrives

The attack begins

Union cavalry rushes to get behind the enemy lines...

...and attack the rear

A fortified camp is taken

Both sides have reached Exhaustion Point ending the game

 Although the Federal Commander failed to capture both locations, the Rebel force was below 50% strength and the remaining troops disperced. The Union line held and General Gilder decided to withdraw to Scrubyville for the Winter and plan his Spring campaign.

("The General sat, and the lines on the map, moved from side to side")

Happy New Year! Health and Happiness to all our readers!