Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Spanish Archers for the Reconquista

Units for the 28mm Reconquista project keep trickling from the painting desk.  A slow but steady approach can yield big dividends over time.  In 2017, for example, these archers mark the seventh Reconquista stand to make it off the paint table.  With an average completion rate of one stand per month, a project can grow stealthily without much effort.  What takes effort is getting the troops to the table for a game! 
In the discussion following the Kolin game last week, talk turned towards bringing some of the collections to the game table for an outing.  One such project was the Reconquista.  I am fairly certain that the collection has seen action on the table one time only.  Jake added that it was three or four years ago.  Three of four years?  Where does the time go? 
This nine-figure stand of archers is composed of BTD 28mm figures.  As always, great figures on which to lay on the paint.  Still plenty of Reconquista lead in The Lead Pile.  A stand's worth of Arab spearmen are awaiting next in the painting queue for this project.  First, though, more Assyrians are up next.  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Trio of Stradiots

The combination of work, good cycling weather, and other pulls on my time has meant meaningful painting sessions have been few this week (and last week too).  What is considered a "meaningful" painting session?  I say a minimum of thirty minutes is needed to get enough  accomplished to make a session worthwhile.  Still, two units managed to make it off the painting desk.  The first of those units is a trio of Perry Miniatures' Stradiots for the 28mm Great Italian Wars project.
This is the third such stand of Perry Stradiots to cross the painting desk for this project.  The first two carried crossbow.  This time, the unit is armed with lance.  Rather than replace the provided soft metal lance with a steel Northstar lance as SOP,  I maintained the Perry-provided lance.  It is thicker than steel lances and not as resilient to abuse.  We will see how the lances hold up on the gaming table.  With the project yet to see action in battle, this worry may be moot.
Table is silent for now
In other happenings on the hobby front, the guys are joining me later this morning for a refight of our most recent battle of Kolin (see Kolin Post-Game Analysis and Kolin Battle Prep).  Following my post-game ramblings, Frederick the Great was energized to give the battle a second attempt.  Will pre-battle planning change from the first outing?  We will see in a few hours' time.  Rules will again be Honours of War.  A solo refight was planned but having active participants will be much more enjoyable.

Finding that the stock QRS provided in the back of the rules booklet did not contain all of the information and memory triggers needed for actual play, I spent part of the week creating a new QRS.  With the additional information added, fewer trips to the rulebook should be needed.  Also incorporated into the QRS are the 11JUL2016 Amendments and Clarifications.  Some of the amendments are significant and move the rules in a positive direction by addressing a few issues discovered in our first few playings of the game. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Two Flags - One Nation: BatRep

Face-off at Mill Creek
Having been following Norm Smith's progress of his grid-based, ACW game, Two Flags - One Nation rules on his Battlefields & Warriors blog, I finally took the plunge and downloaded his latest edition (JUN2017).

Even though Norm provides the rules freely, "free" is no indication of the quality of the writing, layout, or game play.  First rate effort loaded with helpful diagrams and descriptions.  

After having read through the rules and making annotations as I went, Norm quickly provided answers to questions raised.  With those clarifications settled, I set up my hex mat used for Commands & Colors: Ancients, pulled out my 10mm ACW collection, and deployed figures to refight Norm's introductory game of Action at Mill Creek.  Now, mistakes were made in my initial game.  Nevertheless, the game was enjoyable and game play subtlety surfaced early on.  None of the mistakes likely materially effected the outcome and errors were probably made equally for both combatants.  The exercise provided a good, first glance, understanding of the game mechanisms.   

This posting is not a rule review since that requires more than one game to allow the system and proper tactics to evolve in my mind.  What follows, then, is my stumbling through my first game of Two Flags - One Nation.

At start, the Federals have free deployment on the north side of the creek while the Rebels begin off board.
10:00: Confederates march onto the battlefield in line.  The chit labeled 'A' denotes a unit with smoothbore muskets.  All other units carry rifled muskets.  Weapons are randomly assigned for each regiment before play begins.  Federals remain silent as the enemy is beyond range.
10:12: Confederates roll an event of "Confused."  One unit is Out of Command denoted by yellow ball.  Not off to a coordinated start for the Rebels.  Remainder of Confederate command advances on Federal positions.  Federal guns on heights take a shot and score one hit.  Reb unit passes its Cohesion Test (CT). 

10:24: Notice that the turn interval has been 12 minutes for the first two turns.  Purely coincidence.  Turn duration has a fixed and random component.  An interesting design twist, I think.

Reb artillery fires on Federal positions to no effect as one regiment wades into the creek in an attempt to outflank the Federal right.  Federals roll an "Adjust Line" event and artillery continues to pound the center Rebel unit.  The Reb regiment suffers two more hits but continues to hold its ground.
10:36:  Event "Inspiring Federal Leadership" drawn.  With no casualties, no effect.  Rebel artillery targets drives the defending Federal regiment back from the creek and into the woods.  The unit falls back one hex in disorder having suffered one hit.  It will remain disordered for 15 minutes.  Confederates splash into the creek near the bridge.
Schenk rides over to join the disordered Federal regiment hunkered down in the woods as Federal fire erupts from the woods causing two hits on the approaching Rebel regiment.  The Rebel regiment in the creek takes three hits but passes its CT.  On the Rebel far right, a regiment takes three hits first from artillery and then from musketry.

10:49: Feds roll "Confused Order" and the Confederate player chooses to move the Federal guns back from the military crest of the hill.  Not sure manhandling the Federal gun is allowed in "Confused Order" but I figured it best to get those guns off line for awhile. 
Rebel artillery continues pounding the disordered regiment in the woods as a Rebel infantry regiment prepares to attack.  The artillery causes one more hit and the Federal regiment's disorder duration is extended to 11:01.
Two Rebel assaults:
In the assault against the Federals in the woods, the Federals suffer one more hit while the Rebels suffer none.  The cover offered by the woods held the Federal casualties to only one when three could have been inflicted in the open.
In the assault across the creek, Rebels suffer one hit from fire bringing the casualty count to four.  In the close assault, the Rebels take three more hits while the Federals suffer two. The Confederate Brigadier is killed in the close combat.
With the loss of their leader, the Confederate brigade becomes shaken.  Having manhandled the guns back into a suitable firing position, Federal infantry come down from the heights to confront the weakening enemy.
In the post combat CT, the Rebs in the stream fail their check, take one more hit and are dispersed having sustained a total of eight hits. 
11:07: Reb artillery targets the regiment near the bridge and inflicts two hits. Seeing the Federals at four hits, the Confederates charge.  The defender fails his CT becoming disordered but holds his ground. 
In the close combat, the Rebs take one hit to the Federals three.  The Federal regiment is on the verge of collapse with seven hits. 

While the Federal regiment holds on by its fingertips, the Rebs fail their CT and fall back taking one more hit.
Rebs on the north bank of the creek come under heavy fire, taking three hits.  They retire to join their supporting comrades.
11:22: Having sustained heavy casualties in the advance and ensuing clash with the Federals defending the stream, Confederate BG Elzey calls off the attack as Federal reinforcements are flowing towards the bridge to shore up the Federal center.  With little chance of breaking through with additional assaults, BG Elzey makes a reasoned choice.
That was a fun, interesting, and tense little game fought in tight quarters!  With a small battlefield and less than ten units per side, every unit's performance was important.  The Confederates took too many casualties on closing and while it looked like the Federal right flank might collapse, it held.  Coupled with punishment taken by the Confederate center and right, little chance of success when game was declared a Federal victory.

To better plan and familiarize myself for my next game, work on a QRS is in progress.  During this first game, I found myself thumbing through the rules in search of answers. Norm provides a functional QRS but it helps solidify game concepts to build a QRS myself.

Nifty game that I will return to again.  I wonder if more prepared ACW scenarios exist?  Norm?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Assyrian Cavalry #2

As alluded to in my previous post, here is unit #2 of the Assyrian cavalry.  Again, these fine horsemen are from Wargames Foundry's excellent 25mm range.
I kept these in the straw colored livery of a tranche of infantry.  That is, light yellow tunic and kilt with blue and white trim.  To my eye, the light yellow works well.
With the addition of two stands of cavalry, the upstart Assyrians are in a position to take the field as a "basic" Basic Impetvs army.  Many more units remain to see action on the painting desk.  Currently, one stand of Assyrian auxiliary infantry is beginning to see some progress on the workbench.
Before additional Assyrians march off the painting desk, one stand of Spanish archers for the Reconquista project and one stand of light cavalry (Stradiots) for the Great Italian Wars project will make their way off the table.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Switzerland: Luzern to Mt. Rigi

With temperatures rising on the Palouse to near 100F, cycling in the early afternoon sun can cause the mind to drift.  Even though my daily 24 mile route began late morning, temperatures reached nearly 99F before I returned home to cool down.  As seen from the graphic below, Thursday was a hot one.  Friday was not much different.
Stats distance vs temperature
While the mind drifts while cycling out in the heat, thoughts often turn towards more refreshing times.  Thursday's ride was one of those brain cooking, mind wandering 90 minutes.  
As the temperature built, I thought of our recent trip to Switzerland in early May.  Only two months ago, Nancy and I stood on the top of Mt. Rigi across Lake Luzern from the city, itself.  At the summit, the weather was clear and cold with several feet of snow on the ground.
Having a Swiss Travel Pass, planning for the excursion from Luzern to Mt. Rigi was a snap.  We boarded a ship at the Luzern dock at 10:00am and set off across the lake for a 45 minutes cruise.
Weather was pleasant on the lake with temperatures in the mid-60s F.  The ship crossed the lake making several stops before arriving at our disembarkation point in Vinzlau.  Vinzlau is a small, picturesque town that provides the embarkation point for the cog train up to the top of Mt. Rigi Kulm.  The journey up the very steep track takes about 20 minutes and the views are unbelievable gorgeous.

Once at the summit, Nany and I detrained.  Putting on gloves, hats, and scarves, we buttoned up our coats and made the short trek up to the summit to take in the sweeping panorama.
What views they were!  Besides terrific views of the Alps and Lake Luzern, we could also see Lakes Zug and Lauerz.  Stunning.

Following about 30 minutes wandering around the summit, I suggested we take the foot path from the summit to the Rigi-Staffel train station below.  The nearby signpost stated walking time to be about 20 minutes.
After arriving at the Rigi-Staffel train station, we got the next train heading down to Vinzlau.  Back in Vinzlau, the next boat would not arrive for 40 minutes so we grabbed a light snack and drinks and wandered the shores of Vinzlau.

Seeing our boat round a point far in the distance, we turned back to the dock to meet the incoming boat.  After boarding and casting off, we enjoyed another 45 minute cruise back to Luzern in wonderful weather.

Total excursion time was about five hours.  With a Swiss Travel Pass, the cost for this enjoyable outing was $0.   

I feel cooler already.    

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Assyrian Cavalry #1

With "#1" in the subject header, a good guess would be that a '#2" will follow at some point.  That is exactly right!  For now, here is the first of two cavalry units to depart the painting desk.
Off the painting desk today is a four figure stand of Assyrian cavalry with bow for the Biblical project.  Figures are 25mm Wargames Foundry and continue the medium blue tunic and kilt motif of the earlier mustered infantry.
Like their foot slogging brethren, these Foundry horsemen are excellent sculpts.  This really is a fantastic range of figures but I have stated that before.  Figures are based for Impetvs.

Having not purchased any figures since February (probably a record for me!), I have begun slowly dabbling back into the buy-side of the hobby.  In recent BTD sales, I picked up a handful of Egyptian archers and in the July 4th sale, I ordered a few BTD Assyrian foot to see "what is what" since no photos of these figures are posted online. 
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