Thursday, 25 February 2016

Bloody Big Battles! - basing figures

French infantry in a loose firing line
When attacking, Late Nineteenth Century European armies basically operated in skirmish lines with supports in closer formations. With a large enough base and small enough figures, e.g. 6mm figures on a 60mm x 30mm base, it is possible to suggest both the skirmishers and their supports, but with the 1" bases in Bloody Big Battles! this doesn't really work unless going down to 2mm.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Chickamauga for beginners

An early test game. The ratio of trees and open spaces should really be reversed, but this fulfils the need for a simple participation game.
Tonbridge Wargames Club are putting on the Second Day of Chickamauga Battle Cry scenario as a participation game at the Cavalier show later this month. The game will be played with lead miniatures on Hexon.

This is a collective effort and I'm just one of the people helping with it. At some point I am planning to fight this battle with Bloody Big Battles!, but Battle Cry is a quick, fun game and ideal as an introduction to wargaming for beginners of all ages.

For those not familiar with the 'Command & Colours' series, Richard Borg's Battle Cry is a hex-based board game that comes with its own plastic miniatures and 2D terrain counters.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Bloody Big Battles! Langensalza II

I finally got a chance to replay the BBB Langensalza scenario, this time with a better understanding of the rules. I commanded the Prussians again, but it was a very different game.

In the first game I had failed to get my troops moving and had fallen back on the defensive.  This left the Hanoverians free to cross the Unstrut and assault with their superior numbers.  If attackers are not halted by defensive fire, the actual assaults are resolved without the hardware advantage that would otherwise accrue to the Prussian Needleguns.

Before the battle: view from the Hanoverian side. The wide brown felt strips are roads. The thinner strips are streams. The dark green area to the centre-left is marsh.
In this game I fulfilled the conditions for keeping the Hanoverians at bay by continuing to probe the Hanoverian positions. Under the scenario rules the Prussians have to attack, but this can be very staged and piecemeal. With four units and various stages of 'attack', the Prussians could potentially delay the Hanoverians for 8 turns even without actually assaulting anything directly. The Hanoverians need to disrupt the Prussians to stem this advance. If they succeed the Hanoverians would be released to do their worst.

The Prussians by-pass Langensalza to threaten Merxleben. Apologies for the inverted Prussian blocks. I had attached some hooked pads to the bottom of the blocks to stop them from slipping but they stuck to the felt roads far too well. (They have since been replaced with paper.)
Frustrated by my delaying tactics, the Hanoverians moved two infantry units forward in the face of close-range fire from my Needleguns lining the  embankment of the stream. Luckily, I also took out the two central Hanoverian artillery units. This gave me a big advantage in the developing firefight. Far from stemming my advance the Hanoverian centre was threatened with destruction by fire.

The 25th Regt lines the embanked part of the Unstrut, bringing the Hanoverians under intense fire. One Hanoverian artillery unit has been stripped away.
By the end of turn 4 the Hanverians saw no hope of drawing, let alone winning, and conceded the game. BBB author Chris Pringle reported that he has won this scenario as the Hanoverians even though he was held up for 5 turns, but probably not from such an adverse position. As a small scenario, Langensalza is prone to variable outcomes, but that makes it interesting and worth replaying.
The 11th Gren Regt moves up in support. The second Hanoverian artillery unit is destroyed.
Anyway, I'm very glad to have now concluded a proper game and look forward to trying some American Civil War and Franco-Prussian War battles.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Basing 10mm Seven Years War figures for Maurice

Pendraken Prussian Fusiliers. The ensigns occupy two
touching corners so the flags are at the centre of the unit.
Maurice uses square bases and Base Widths for measurement, so I decided on 25 mm bases so I could use inches in games. Four bases comprise a unit (except for artillery which are single bases).

I'm putting the infantry 8-up (two ranks of four) which means they are packed tight sideways with the figures presenting a continuous line when the bases are pushed together. IMO this density is more historically accurate than spreading the figures out.

The figures are also closely packed front-to-back and this will support my plan to paint only the 'outsides' of the figures leaving the 'insides' in shadow. If I ever get round to doing the American War of Independence in 10 mm, I would probably mount the figures more loosely, i. e. 6-up (except the Hessians).

The bases are made from Pendraken Minibits laser-cut MDF glued with UHU Power to Precision Wargames Supplies steel bases. They are designed to be stored and transported in TUFF boxes lined with magnetic sheet. The figures are applied with PVA glue after trimming off the casting sprues.