Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dan Rygasewicz

Longtime friend and fellow war gamer Dan Rygasewicz passed away yesterday from a heart attack.
Dan ran several different gaming conventions including Peanut Wars and First Raid.   He would also run games at many of the local conventions, including Pacificon, Western Front, Conquest Sacramento, and many more.   Dan's favorite type of miniature games were naval games, followed by the American Civil War.  He and I met many years ago when we helped some friends with a war game convention.  Dan and I last met at Western Front at the beginning of this month prior to a trip he was making to the east coast with his wife.  He had already scheduled several games that he would be running at Pacificon at the start of next month.  In his memory Pacificon will be draping the table in black and display his photo.   He will be missed by all who met him and gamed with him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Battle of Calinicum at Western Front Game Convention

The second game I hosted at Western Front was the Battle of Callinicum.  This battle took place on Easter Sunday April 19, 531 AD.  Belisarius had been following a large Sassanian raiding force and had been joined by Hermogenes the Magistar Officiorum, second only to Justinian.  Belisaurius had wanted to avoid battle, but his generals urged otherwise.  The battle took place across the Euphrates from the town of Callinicum.  

Historically after exchanging bow fire for a while the Persians attacked the Arabs on the Byzantine right, drove them off and forced the Byzantines to fall back towards the river where they held out until the Persians withdrew.  The game was to follow a different path.   The Persians appeared to shift towards their right as they advanced.  There was an exchange of missile fire where the Byzantines came off the worse.  Though the Byzantines scored as many hits as the Persians, because the Byzantines were in close order and the Persians were in open order,  the Persians were able to attempt saving throws and made almost all of them.  The front line of Byzantine cavalry had started in open order, but had changed to close order with the second line filling the gaps.

The Byzantine cavalry then charged the Persian cavalry facing them taking some additional losses from missile fire as the Persians evaded.  The Byzantine cavalry now ran into the Persian second line.  At this time, other than the Bucellarii, the Byzantine cavalry was mostly armed with bows and swords.  The second line of Persian cavalry was armed with lances in addition to their bows.  As such they were equal to twice as many of the Byzantine horse in combat and were able to hold against the Byzantine onslaught.  Meanwhile the Arab allies of both armies had engaged on the other flank. 

Fighting was intense.  The Arab allies of the Byzantines were doing as well as their opposites, but the Byzantine cavalry was taking more casualties than the Persians.  The Persian cavalry which had evaded was rallying and would soon be returning to join the fighting.  At this point the Byzantine general commanding the infantry was slain.  The Byzantine infantry held and continued fighting.  Then the leader of the Persian Arab allies died, causing most of the Arabs to leave.  A couple of units of Arabs continued fighting with one of them seeking revenge for the loss of their leader.  The next to fall was  Azarethes, the Persian commander.  At this point the Persians conceded and withdrew. 

All of the leader losses had taken place during the same round of combat.   For this game I had decided to test an alternative method of checking for leader losses that used a pair of six sided die instead of a single ten sided die.  Numerically this would result in their being less of a chance of a leader being killed.  However, the die rolls were such that the three leaders were lost.  The procedure was to declare whether the losses received during the current turn by the unit the general was attached to were to be added or subtracted to the score of two six sided dice.  If the total was 13 or more, or one or less, then the general was lost.
Rules used were Scutarii.  Most of the Byzantine and Persian armies were from Heroics and Ros.  The Arabs on the Byzantine side were from Irregular and those on the Persian side were from Heroics and Ros and Rapier.  The Rapier cavalry mixed well with the Heroics and Ros cavalry.   Some of the Persian cavalry and Byzantine infantry were from Baccus.  The Persian commanders were Nick Cuaresma and Brent Burdine.  The Byzantine commanders were  Mike Nankervis and the fellow from the morning game who left before I got his name.

 The Byzantine commanders discuss their plans.  Mike, as Belisarius in the background.
 Persian commanders ready for action.  Brent on the left Nick on the right.
 The Byzantines respond to the Persian advance.
 View from the side of the Euphrates.  Byzantine cavalry has chased off the front line of Persian cavalry and is engaging the Persian second line.
 The fighting continues.  As can be seen the Byzantine infantry has taken more losses than the Persian cavalry facing them.
 Back to the other side where the two different tribes of Arabs are fighting each other.
 The Persian Arab allies rout following the death of their leader.
 Results of the fighting between the Byzantine and Persian cavalry.  Several units of Byzantine cavalry have become shaken while Persian morale is still steady despite their losses.
Belisarius and the remaining Persian commander discuss terms following the battle.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Battle of Marathon at Western Front Game Convention

This past Saturday I hosted two battles at the Western Front Game Convention at Randy's House of Games in Sacramento.  The morning game was the Battle of Marathon.  Rules were Scutarii.  The Greeks were from Rapier Miniatures and the Persians were a mix of Rapier and Baccus.

The Greeks advanced slowly towards the Persians though the rules did allow them to make a quick advance.  The Persians were lucky and were able to get a couple of volleys of arrows off before the Greeks could close.  Their fire was deadly enough to cause several units of hoplites to become shaken and not close.  The Greeks were able to cause more casualties during melee even though the greater depth of most of the Persian line mitigated some of the losses.   The Persians were unable to exploit the gaps in the Greek line.  Though they did rout a couple of units of hoplites, Persian morale collapsed and all except a couple of units of Persian infantry who were chasing one of the routed hoplite units fled from the table.  The Greeks had 1000 hoplites routed and about 100 or so casualties on other units for a loss of about 400 to 500 men of the 10,000 they started with.   Persian losses were about 7000 of the 18,500 infantry they started with.  The 1000 Persian cavalry did not arrive in time to participate in the battle.

Aaron was the overall Persian commander assisted by a new player who's name I unfortunately did not get that day.  Chris and Scott were the Greek commanders.

Changes from the scenario published in the rule book were to increase the number of Persian infantry from 6000 to 6500, increase the attack value of the thinned center units of hoplites from 2 to 4, and dicing for the arrival of the Persian cavalry starting on turn 3.  The Persian cavalry arrives on turn 3 with a die roll of 1 on a ten sided die,  a roll of 1 through 4 on turn 4, and 1 through 9 on turn 5.  a roll of 10 resulted in not arriving.

 Aaron contemplates the Persian deployment
 Chris relaxes before the battle begins.
 The battle lines advance.  Ionian Greeks at left of Persian line.
 Contact with several hoplite units hesitating.
Two units of hoplites rout.  Persians pursue on far left.   On the following Persian turn the Persian army's morale collapsed as the rout of one unit caused the adjoining units to test morale causing them to rout and precipitating additional morale tests and routs.  Other than the two pursuing units all other units in the Persian army routed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Western Front Game Convention

This past weekend Randy's House of Games in Sacramento California hosted the Western Front Game Convention.  The event had a wide variety of miniature and board games.    The following are several pictures of the Gaming area in the back of the store.

Next are some pictures of the various games on Saturday.

The Battle of Marathon using Scutarii.  Persians on left Greeks on right.
 The DBA tournament
 Battle of Kursk using Blitzkrieg Commander.
 Treadheads, a tank skirmish game
 Cedar Mountain, a boardgame designed and published by a local Sacramento Gamer.
 Playtest of upcoming Jutland board game.
 Battle of Zama using Command and Colors.
 Another view of Kursk later in the day.
Battle of Callinicum using Scutarii.  Persian commanders discuss strategy.

I will provide more detailed accounts of Marathon and Calllinicum in later posts.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Manny Granillo hosted Waterloo at his new home on July 19th.  Scott was Napoleon, Kurt was Wellington, and I was Blucher.  There were 14 participants for the battle using Corps Command.   Napoleon was victorious this time.  The allies advanced their forward units off the hills and while they were able to slow the French advance, the casualties they suffered led to the allied army's defeat.  The first elements of the Prussian army arrived in time to see the Dutch Belgian cavalry flee from the field.   Photos were taken with my phone.
 view of the battlefield from the west
 French army.
 Allied army.  Prussian 2nd in command in background.
 The French advance

Dutch Belgian cavalry leaving the field.