Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Thirty Years War 6mm progress

Swedish pike-and-shot, Swedish horsemen, Detached shot, Cuirassiers,
Dragoons, German pike-and-shot, Croats, Arquebusiers.

I've based all the figures I had for Steven Thomas's Tilly's Very Bad Day. The the photo shows most of them (except for Commanders and Cannons), but it was only about half of what I need. Baccus was closed for renovation so I had to wait a while before placing a third order.

The bases are 60mm x 30mm MDF and steel, and the figures were glued on with PVA which gave me plenty of time to manipulate them into position. PVA is hardly the best glue for metal, but I've found it adequate for small scale figures. The figures are not perfectly aligned. This was deliberate.

Monday, 21 October 2019


Colonial forces on the nearside. Boxers and Imperial Chinese in the distance.
Tonbridge Wargames Club put on a 28mm Boxer Rebellion demo/participation game of The Men Who Would Be Kings at the annual SELWG show in Crysral Palace, South London. I wasn't part of the demo team having been rather out of things recently, but I was pleased to be invited to participate in one of the games.

I commanded the Colonial forces consisting of Japanese, British and French marines. These are the nearest units in the photo. The opposition, commanded by Simon, consisted of two Imperial Chinese units (Irregular Infantry, one with obsolete and one with modern firearms) and four units of Boxers (Tribal Infantry).

The objective, for the Colonial forces, was to clear and control the T-junction on the right.

My plan was to advance into range and then to hold back and control the objetive by fire. On my right flank the French Marines swept away the opposition. On my left flank the Japanese holed up in the compound. Despite an heroic resistance with all the advantages of being in hard-cover they were eventually whittled away. The Royal Marines in the centre should have won any firefight but suffered badly initially and never recovered.

In the end game the French Marines who had performed like a Boxer-munching 'Pac-Man' came around in a right hook to clear the last Boxers out of the compound and to gain a Pyrric victory.

It was a very well-balanced game and all good fun.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Two games of Commands & Colors Ancients

Commands & Colors: Ancients is probably the best of the C&C games, a series that for me sits somewhere between a boardgame and a gridded miniatures game depending on what you use to play it.

C&C Ancients and its extension sets offer a huge range of historical scenarios which you can set up in minutes.

Ian and I fought two games. In the first, Cynoscephale 197 BC, I commanded the Macedonians against Ian's Romans and won.

In the second, Battle of the Sabis River 57 BC, I had Julius Caesar's Romans against Ian's Belgae and lost. It was a close-run game.

Ian has a lot more experience of board wargames so he gives me  lot of advice. This means he's often playing against himself. So he always deserves the credit, whoever wins!

Like every game, C&C has its quirks and you need to 'play the game' to win. There are no objectives other than the total destruction of a given number of enemy units, and you constantly need to keep that priority in mind.

The other priority is to use your opportunities (the cards) as efficiently as possible, which means that you sometimes have to compromise about where to attack.

Finally, I was reminded of the importance of supporting units with two other units, something I'd completely forgotten about, and, in fact, don't even remember!

Anyway, this has fired up my interest in C&C and I've just ordered a copy of the new Commands & Colours: Medieval which covers the Early Medieval period - Huns, Byzantines and Sassanids.
Cynoscephale. My light troops commence
the game with good control of the hills.
Ian makes a strong atack on my left. I was
tempted to counter this but better opportunities
presented themselves elsewhere.
My left holds while my centre advances
And it's curtains for the Romans. In the real
battle the Macedonians were heavily defeated.
Sabis River. I seem to have taken only
one shot at the end. I was successful on my
right but badly mauled on my left. Caesar
survived but the 10th Legion was wiped
out. Ian pipped me at the post on the
last victory point. In the real battle, Caesar crushed the Belgic tribes.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Flames of War: A Bridge Too Far – The Battles for Oosterbeek and Arnhem

Photo at beginning of game showing most
of the Allied miniatures.
Ian brought round yet another boardgame for me to try - Flames of War's Market Garden game. I elected to play the Allies. As you would expect, they have airborne troops that need to be reinforced and resupplied by air and ground forces that need to smash their way through to link up.

The Allied strategy does require a plan but going up the central road is a pretty obvious option as that route has most of the points on it.

An early attack on Arnhem Bridge by my airborne troops. It seemed the right thing to do. I took the bridge but could not hold it.
It's an interesting game but odd in some ways. It comes with some miniatures but very few. The board is divided into zones  and these can attack and defend regardless of the miniatures. In some ways the miniatures are a distraction.

There were some ups and downs but it was with great satisfaction that a combination of my airborne and ground forces took Arnhem bridge on more-or-less the last 'Battle' of the last game turn.

Late in the game Ian attempted to cut my supply line by attacking out of an empty zone into an empty zone. This was actually in error as even empty zones have to be in supply and Ian's wasn't. So the moves were taken back leaving me with the victory.
Thanks to the points I had accumulated, mainly from seizing bridges but also from captures of troops, I achieved a 'Strategic Victory' which is the best sort of victory you can get.

It was an enjoyable game but I am left more struck by its oddness than anything else.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Race to the Rhine

Thanks to my friend Ian I’m currently enjoying a boardgame bonanza. My penultimate experience was Race to the Rhine by Jaro Andruszkiewicz and Waldek Gumienny, a game of resource management in which you compete against other Allied players to be first across the Rhine.

In a two-player game one player always takes the central command, Bradley, while the other plays Montgomery (along the coast) or Patton (to the right). I was advised that Patton was the easiest option so that's what I chose.

There are just three resources: fuel, ammo and food. You have to get these to your forces at the front via chains of supply lorries, but you also have to contend with a buildup of German forces blocking your path or cutting your supply lines. Germans pop up when you attempt to occupy a new town or courtesy of rival players.

Despite going through a very weak phase during which one of my corps was isolated, another had run out of food and my supply lines were constantly being cut, I just managed to pull it off.

The game is very cleverly designed. It has a certain 'unity of design' which gives it a convincing feel, and I imagine it has great replay and solo value.
Patton's Corps are in blue. One is awkwardly
placed behind Bradley and needs to backtrack
before going anywhere.
Making good time. Patton's command enjoys
additional minor supply points on the edge
of the board, so you don't have to bring
everything up from the start position.
Accross the Rhine (bottom right) but cut off.
The supply line is restored and the game won,
although the leading unit is out of food.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Thirty Years War 6mm basing: Commanders, Cannons and Dragoons

Commanders and Cannons
I had originally intended to put three mounted figures on Commander bases but sometimes less is more and I think two figures actually looks better.

Cannons were one of the easiest basing decisions and will be represented by a single Saker and 4 crew. The officer and the figure with the linstock will be positioned behind the cannon and the figures with sponge and cannonball in front.

Dragoons were the most challenging decision. Dragoon bases represent the same number of men as Horse bases, but cramming the same number of figures onto a base just doesn't work.

I think the best way of representing Dragoons is to have a skirmish line at the front, with a horse-holder and horses positioned behind. This would look better if the bases were deeper, but I don't intend to do that so it's a question of doing the best I can in the limited space.

I need 3 units of Dragoons in total and I happen to have one packet of Baccus dismounted Dragoon figures, so I decided to split the packet between them and this just about provides a reasonable look. However, I think the skirmishers would look better with perhaps two or three more figures so I'll just have to get some more.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Thirty Years War 6mm basing: Horse and Light Horse

Original plan for Horse
Original plan for Light Horse
These photos show my original plans for Horse and Croat Light Horse. The top one shows 24 mounted figures which is in the correct ratio to the 48 figures I'm using on Pike+shot bases. The bottom one shows 16 Light Horse.

I had second thoughts about these ideas. I didn't think it was really necessary to use 24 figures for Horse, and I also felt that the Light Horse base looked a little overcrowded. I also thought it would be useful to use (subtly) different numbers to indicate Arquebusiers, Cuirassiers or Swedish Horseman. So I'm now planning to use 20 figures for Arquebusiers,  18 for Cuirassiers, 16 for Swedish Horsemen and 12 or 14 for Croats.

The Croats are acually  'Unarmoured Cavalry' (GNP08) from Baccus's Great Northern War Polish range. I understand that TYW Croats had a proportion of lancers but most would be pistol-armed so most of the spears need to be snipped.