Monday, February 23, 2015

Special Units

Many of us have had wargame units that have performed exceptionally compared to others in the same army.   Sometimes better than usual and sometimes worse than usual.  

Years ago when I got started with ancients using WRG IV, I fielded a Seleucid army.  At first it included some 20mm Airfix Romans and some 20mm metal phalangites.  IIRC the manufacturer was Brescia.  At the time I was told that the Seleucids did not have Roman type infantry.  Years later it was found that they did.  One of the units in the army  was a fifty figure formation of levy archers.  The worst class of troops possible under the rules.   They usually occupied a hill behind the main line of the army and would turn any unit that came in range into a pin cushion.  Their morale never faltered.  One time a friend and I played a Jewish revolt game.  My friend took the Seleucids and I had the Jews.  It may have been the first turn of the game or possibly the second, when the levy archers had to take a morale test.  The result was an uncontrolled advance towards my army.  They came in range of my archers, took some casualties, had to perform another morale test, and broke, fleeing off the field.

Some years later I ran an American Civil War campaign at the local hobby shop.  It was a fictional campaign between the Empire (Union) and the Federation (Confederates).  Star Wars had recently been in the theaters %).   Commanders had names like J.B.T. Hutt or D. Vader.  During one of the early battles a Confederate infantry brigade performed outstanding acts of valor, throwing back attacks by Union troops though greatly outnumbered.  They became known as the St. John's Brigade due to their flag.  Every time they were involved in a battle they continued to out perform all others.  The Union players came to fear them and whenever there was a battle they would immediately try and locate the brigade.   The St. John's brigade had started the campaign with 1500 men and over the course of the campaign they had eventually been reduced to less than 500 men.  In their final battle the Union surrounded them with over three times their number and fired several volleys into them.  There were few survivors.  At this point the Empire had conquered most of the Federation and the campaign drew to a close.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


A while back I purchased some figures from Rapier Miniatures to round out the hoplites for the battle of Nemea.   Unfortunately some of the figures had miscast shields.  I emailed Rapier about this and received a response that they would "get on it right away".  Since I had always had good service from them I thought nothing further of it and went on to other projects.  This past weekend I returned to the hoplites and realized that I had heard nothing further from Rapier. 
Since I had acquired a number of larger scale shield designs I experimented with reducing them to fit the 6mm figures.  The program I used is Paintshop Pro 7.  This program allows you to increase the number of pixels per inch when you reduce an image keeping the detail.  Microsoft Paint will not allow you to do this and has a maximum of 96 pixels per inch.   After some experimenting I found that if I reduced them by a factor of six and increased the number of pixels per inch by the same factor that the size was just about right for the figures.  I printed them on heavy white cardstock.  I trimmed the remains of the shields from the figures and used white glue to attach the shields after cutting them out.  Cutting circles less than 4mm in diameter is a bit difficult.  I may check with some of the craft stores and see if it is possible to obtain a hole punch that is the correct size as I have about five dozen more to cut and glue.  The following images show the first dozen figures that I have attached the shields to.   A couple of them will need to be rotated and a couple will need to be replaced.   The photos were taken with the macro setting for the camera lens.  I still have some painting to do for the figures.
Found a set of a dozen punches that include 3mm and 4mm diameter punches on Ebay for less than $14US with free shipping Rapier has also informed me that they have replaced the faulty mold.  Time to take a look at what additional items I need.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Battle of Breitenfeld 1631

I hosted the Battle of Breitenfeld at the South Bay Game Club meeting on January 31 using "Repent or Die" by Manny Granillo of Hoplite Research Games.   Manny was Tilly, Bill McHugh was Pappenheim, Robert Packard was Gustavus, and I was Johan Georg of Saxony.  All the figures are Heroic and Ros.   Most of them I received from Bob Bergman in trade for 15mm figures.

Tilly had originally intended to avoid a battle until after winter.   However, Pappenheim, who had been ordered to locate the Swedes had engaged them and sent to Tilly for help.   Tilly advanced his army to support Pappenheim.   The armies fought the battle the next day.   After a couple of hours of artillery fire being exchanged, Pappenheim led his cavalry against the Swedish right.  Seeing this Tilly ordered Furstenburg to attack the Saxons and ordered the tercios to advance on them also.   Pappenheim made six attacks against the Swedes and was repulsed each time.   After being repulsed he led his cavalry from the field allowing the Swedish cavalry under Baner and Gustavus to encircle the Imperial army.  Meanwhile the Saxons put up a token resistance and then fled from the field looting the Swedish baggage on their way.  Isolano's Croatians arrived at this point to join in the pursuit and looting.   Seeing the collapse of the Saxon army, the second line of Swedish infantry faced left and advanced to protect their left flank.   The Swedes were able to capture the Imperial artillery and turn the guns on the tercios.   Only one of the fourteen tercios was able to escape intact.  Imperial casualties were 13,000 and an additional 5000 joined the Swedish army.   The Swedes lost about 3000.

In order to speed up play during the first few turns dicing for move distances was replaced with infantry moving 5 inches per turn, cavalry 10 inches, and generals 14 inches.   Normal dicing for move distances was used  once units got close enough to make contact or declared charges.


Initial setup looking East.  Imperial army is on the right and Swedes on the left 
View looking west.  Saxons on the right. 
Robert on left and Manny on the right 
Bill McHugh 
First turn.  Imperials moved first.  Pappenheim's cavalry advance. 
Furstenburg's cavalry advance towards the Saxons.
Swedish center advances.  Each Swedish regiment consisted of three battalions of pike and shot and two light gun batteries. 
Saxons advance to front of hill 
2nd turn Saxon artillery fire has no effect.  Troops in other parts of the battlefield closed on each other. 
3rd turn.  Pappenheim's cavalry charges the Swedish gun line. 
Swedish and Imperial cavalry engage on west end of battlefield.
Swedes send second infantry line towards their left. 
Imperial cavalry routs. 
More Imperial cavalry rout after failing to halt and slamming into the Swedish infantry. 
Furstenburg's cavalry engages Bindauf's Saxon cavalry.
Saxon cavalry rout taking most of the army with them.  Surprisingly one of their cavalry units actually routed its opponent.   The rest of the Saxon army then withdrew from the field.  Four squadrons of Croatians would arrive to join in the fun of chasing the Saxons.
Intense fighting in the center.  One battalion of the Swedish infantry regiment in the center was forced back while the other regiment threw back its attackers.
Baner's cavalry chases off Pappenheim's cavalry.  The Swedish cavalry had units of commanded musketeers providing additional fire power. 
More tercios advance on the Swedish line with Colloredo's cavalry behind them.

Furstenburg's cavalry advances towards the Swedish army.   The Croats have arrived at the bottom of the picture.
Swedish second line is arriving on the left flank of the four tercios break in the center.    
The Imperial center and left flank are collapsing.  The tercio on the right precipitated the collapse when it was outscored 6:1 on the combat die roll.  The Imperial army conceded the field at this point as Baner's cavalry would be moving into their rear area.
The battle began about 11:30 and ended about 3:30 with a half hour lunch.
Repent or Die rates units from elite (best), veteran, regular, militia, to rabble (worst).  Elites normally roll a d12, Veterans a d10, regulars a d8, militia a d6 and rabble a d4.   The type of die can be modified by certain conditions and except for rabble will be reduced by one type if the unit is unformed.  Firing and melee cause the units to receive disorder markers affecting the units' cohesion and morale.  Units can be pushed back or rout from melee.   Routs cause other friendly nearby units to check, possibly causing them to rout also. 
deployment map from the (unofficial) Great Battles of History website.  To fit the battlefield on a 5x12 area, each hex was 3 inches across and the east end of the map from the woods was not used.  The whole map would fit on a 5x14 foot area.
Unit Strength Rating Unit Strength Rating
Gustav II Adolph Hepburne
Schaffman 4 veterans
Horn Kochitzky 4 veterans
Upplander 4 veterans Taupedel 4Dragoons regulars
Baudisson 4 veterans Thurn 17R regulars
Caldenbach 4 veterans Grona 17R veterans
Courville 4 veterans Vitzhum 17R veterans
von Efferen-Hall 4 veterans
von Efferen-Hall2 4 veterans Torstensson
Steinbach 3CM veterans artillery 2H, 4M regulars
hand1 3CM veterans
hand2 3CM veterans Johan Georg
oxenstern 3CM veterans von Arnim 12B rabble
von Arnim2 12B rabble
Baner Loser 12B rabble
Smalander 4 elite Loser2 12B rabble
Vastergotland 4 veterans Starschedel 12B rabble
Damitz 4 veterans Starschedel2 12B rabble
Rhengreven 4 veterans Klitzing 12B rabble
Stalhandske 4 elite Klitzing2 12B rabble
Wunsch 4 veterans Schwalbech 12B rabble
Tott 4 veterans Schwalbech2 12B rabble
Ostergotland 4 veterans Schmbrg 4 regulars
Livland 4 veterans artillery 4M rabble
Donhoff 4 veterans
Sperreuter 4 veterans Von Arnim
baner1 3CM regulars Arnim 4CR veterans
baner2 3CM regulars Kurfurstin LG 4CR veterans
baner3 3CM regulars Kurfurstin LG2 4CR veterans
baner4 3CM regulars Steinhaus 4CR rabble
Teuffel Bindauf
Kings Own 17R veterans Bindauf 4CR militia
Oxenstierna 17R veterans Bindauf 4LC militia
Hand 17R veterans Altenberg 4CR militia
Blaa 17R regulars Altenberg 4LC rabble
Ortenburg  4 veterans Loser 4CR rabble
Ramsey 3CM veterans Loser2 4CR rabble
Monro 3CM veterans Pflugk 4CR rabble
Hamilton 3CM veterans Pflugk2 4CR rabble

The light guns attached to the Swedish regiments were all rated as veteran.  Each strength point represents 100 men.  Swedish 17R infantry regiments are organized as three infantry battalions in a wedge shape with one in front and two behind and have two batteries of light guns attached.   3CM are commanded musketeers.   4LC are light cavalry.  Artillery H = heavy M= medium number = batteries,  Saxon 12B are pike and shot blocks (a mass of poorly trained infantry),   Saxon CR are armored caracole cavalry, all other Swedish cavalry are heavy cavalry.

For the Imperial Army T = tercio,  HC = Heavy cavalry, Croats are light cavalry lancers, LC = light cavalry, all other cavalry are armored caracole cavalry, artillery groups are two heavy guns and one medium gun.

For both armies the actual historical strengths of the units varied.  The strengths were averaged to 4 for mounted squadrons, 17 for the Swedish regiments, 15 for the Tercios, and 3 for the commanded muskets.

strength rating Unit strength rating
Tilly Colloredo
Tilly LG 4 veteran Monteccelli 4 veteran
Monteccelli2 4 veteran
Pappenheim Erwite 4LC veteran
Strozzi 4 regular Erwite 4 veteran
Neu-Sachsen 4 veteran Hareacourt 4LC regular
Rangoni 4 regular Coronino 4LC veteran
Neu-Picollomini 4 regular Colloredo 4LC veteran
Alt-Picolomini 4LC veteran
Alt-Picolomini 4 veteran Furstenberg
Pernstein 4 veteran Wengersky 4HC veteran
Pernstein 4 veteran Schonberg 4 veteran
Merode 4LC veteran Schonberg2 4 veteran
Alt-Sachsen 4 veteran
Sachsen-Altenburg career Alt-Sachsen2 4 veteran
Holstein 15T veteran Cronberg 4 veteran
Chiesa 15T veteran Cronberg2 4 veteran
Gallas 15T veteran
Neu-Sachsen-Furstenburg 15T veteran Isolano 4Croat veteran
Baldiron-Dietrichstein 15T veteran Isolano2 4Croat veteran
Alt-Tilly 15T veteran Isolano3 4Croat veteran
Geleen 15T veteran Isolano4 4Croat veteran
Artillery 2H, M militia
Von Wahl career
Goess 15T veteran
Savelli 15T veteran
Blankhardt 15T veteran
Pappenheim 15T regular
Comargo-Reinach 15T regular
Wahl 15T veteran
Wangler 15T veteran
Artillery 2H, M militia  

South Bay Game Club Meeting January 31, 2015

The January meeting had a lot of games being played and visitors from one of the local schools.  In addition to the Battle of Breitenfeld that  I ran the following games also took place.  
54mm American Civil War battle of Brawner's farm.  Rally Around the Flag rules.

Student visitors take to the air in Aerodrome tournament

"Nuts" "Hell Hath No Fury" tank rules 28mm

Battle of Britain Aerodrome

 Tactica.  Byzantines vs Sassanid Persians
Tactica.  Byzantines vs Sassanid Persians
DBA tournament

2nd Aerodrome tournament table.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Miniature Wargaming Society of Sacramento Club Meeting

I ran the game that I will be running at Dundracon in February on Sunday, January 18th at the MWS club meeting.  This is a fantasy version of the Battle of Bibracte with dwarfs taking the place of Caesar's legions and a mixture of Orcs, skeletons, humans, and others taking the place of the Helvetii.  Normal sized humans provided the dwarf cavalry and light infantry.   Unlike Caesar, Geezer (played by Aaron Martin) advanced his legions off the hill and met the opposing force commanded by The Dark One (played by Bernie) near the stream.  

The cavalry and light infantry on Geezer's right were swept away by the opposing mounted troops.   On Geezer's left the cavalry held out longer, but eventually fled also.   The two new legions forming the back line were at first being moved to bolster the left flank, but one was dispatched to the right flank to cover the exposed  opening caused by the flight of the cavalry and light troops on the right.   This was the first use of the new rule for shifting troops from one flank to the other.  The legion arrived on the right flank just in time to meet the arrival of an additional 15,000 enemy infantry. 

The dwarfs had two heroes who were attached to a couple of cohorts of the elite 5th Legion (so named for the amount of whiskey they drank with each meal).  The two heroes helped to hold the end of the right flank even when the cohort "Mohawk" was attached to became disordered.  the other hero, "Hairy", managed to survive the battle.   The same could not be said for the two magic users on the opposing side.   The magic users managed to unleash a few fireballs on the dwarfs before the first one died.  The second one exploded during the next turn leaving a mushroom shaped cloud of smoke rising from the spot where he had been.

As the battle raged on the dwarfs would pull exhausted cohorts from the front rank and replace it with a fresh one.  Meanwhile their opponents were massed in a formation 50 ranks deep and were able to absorb the casualties inflicted on them by the dwarfs.  Eventually some of the dwarfs' enemies facing the left end of their main battle line broke.  However only part of the line broke leaving their center and left flank intact.  

At this point the game was called as Chris, the other dwarf commander had to leave.  The battle was declared a draw as the dwarfs were still in fairly good shape though their right flank was in a precarious situation.  

The only changes from the historical battle other than the type of beings fighting it were the addition of two heroes to the dwarf (Roman) side and two magic users to the other (Helvetii) side.  The dwarfs were also rated as being resistant to magic and had a saving throw for any hits caused by magic.  The figures used were all plastic 28mm figures from a variety of manufacturers with the majority being various Games Workshop figures.  The battle was fought on a 6 foot by 71/2 foot area.

 The main battle lines engage.  In the left center of the picture the legion moving to the right flank can be seen.  At the bottom the cohort with "Mohawk" attached is holding its own against the infantry and cavalry even though it is disorganized.  Hairy is attached to the second cohort from the right in the front line.  The 5th Legion is at the right end of the dwarf line.
Fighting on the dwarf right flank as the last surviving unit of cavalry is engaged by three opposing units.  The pictures were taken with my cell phone camera as the batteries in my camera had died.

There were several other games that day also.   Two different Saga games, two Lion Rampant,  Xwing, and a Warhammmer fantasy game.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

November South Bay Game Club Meeting

Instead of running a game at the November club meeting I decided to participate in Bob Berman's Indian Mutiny Game.  There were two other games at the club meeting.  These were Lepanto, and a horse and musket game.  All the participants in the Indian Mutiny game play on the British side.  The mutineers have automatic movement when randomly activated.   The British players have action chits that they may play at any time during a mutineer activation to either move, fire, reload, or recover wounded.  The British players had two commands each.   A command consists of two 10 figure infantry companies representing 100 men each, a command figure, and an artillery piece representing a two gun section.  Mutineer units are 20 figures representing 400 men units.  Objectives are the well supplying water for the defenders and the women and children hiding in the white building near the well with my troops on top of it.

 Setting up the game.  Ann in the back and Jim on the left.  My forces are in the foreground and the dark building.
 The battle begins
 The mutineers gain a foothold in Jim's secotr
 My men have fallen back from the corner, but would continue to throw any mutineers back over the wall who crossed.
 Ann's Gurkhas are forced back from the wall and into the dark building.
 Jim's and Ann's commands are forced back to the inner wall
 Lepanto playtest of Thomas Foss' rules
 Neil's French and Indian War game
 Desperate fighting at the building.   The Mutineers were able to force their way into the building.  My men in the building had moved to the rooftop.
We were able to hold out in the inner defenses until the end of the game.  Jim had accumulated a bunch of activations and was able to fire, reload, fire, reload, and fire again decimating the mutineers in front of him.  While the dark building was contested we had held the rest and protected the well.
Harry Flashman and Gunga Din made guest appearances during the game.  Gunga Din helped a group of sunstroke victims recover while Flashman encouraged the Highlanders to fall back to the inner defenses.