Thursday, August 29, 2013

Longstreet: the Battle of Smedley's Tavern

Longstreet came out last week. We have been playing the free, Lite version for a couple of months and now we finally got a chance to try the real thing. From my earlier post you can see we got into the spirit of thing by Photoshopping some portraits of our alter-egos. Part of the full version of Longstreet is the introduction of Biography Cards. These randomly drawn cards add flavor to Generals. I drew "Cavalry Officer". Any one who knows me, knows a kill little metal horsies whenever I get them (except for a bizarre string of cavalry victories lately). My alter ego would be a disgraced Prussian aristocrat recruited by the South named Karl Friedrich Wolfgang Von Schtuppe (in honor of Madeline Kahn from Blazing Saddles). I can add bonuses to my combat dice when using cavalry, but have a chance of getting wounded in the process.
I chose the Meeting Engagement setup from the book. Then, both sides rolled for scouting and the Union decided to be the attacker. Both sides randomly drew 3 Terrain Cards. You may either play these, or place a road, stream or wall. We stuck our 2 woods, and 1 swamp right in the middle of the Yankee deployment zone. We got swamps and standing crops in return.
The Southern commander, Jeremiah O.B. Hungwell's special ability as an Engineer was to place entrenchments, which he put in front of our guns in the center. Our mission was to hold the town of Smedley's Tavern.
The right flank of the Confederates
Rather than hold back and wait, the Rebs surged forward to meet the Yankee invaders. Cavalry quickly outstripped the infantry and guns. But this aggressiveness paid off. Reb cavalry caught 3 of the Union guns isolated out front of their troops. The gray cavaliers hacked the crew to pieces and spiked the guns. This was especially humiliating for the Union Commander, General Jonathan Vincent Fleckman, as he was a Artilleryman himself.
Rebs man the works.
On the Southern right, cavalry took a small hill. Going against everything in my being, rather than charge down the hill gloriously, I elected to dismount and hold the ridge. This worked for awhile, but eventually they were overwhelmed by numbers and swept from the field.
The real battle began, with it's slow grind of fire, charge and counter charge. This is where the mechanics began to shine. There were several instances where a charge could lead to potential heavy losses by the defender, but because they can burn cards to decrease losses, the attackers were forced back. This may seem seem like not alot happened, but it forced the defender to eat cards faster. A large attack along the line could really wear them down, and force actual casualties.
Two hours in, both sides were getting beat up. It was agreed the Rebs held their objective and thus won.
The Union lines

The post battle sequence is fun too. You check for promotion. Obviously there is bias against foreigners, because I didn't get a promotion. Then see if the Elan of your units changed. The bitterness of the fight changed my Missouri Volunteers from Eager to Seasoned. The entire Cavalry regiment had to be replaced so they came still eager.
Then you check for losses form campaign (sickness, desertion, etc). I lost 2 stands per regiment.
 Thank God for the final step, Campaign Cards. I got replacements for most of my units and 2 new guns fresh from the Richmond foundry.
Overall, it was a great game. Fire & Fury holds a special place in my heart, but this was way more fun. One thing we would change, though. In large games, only the C-in-C is allowed Interrupt cards. In one on one games this is part of the fun, and without them, defense becomes really hard. So, as a house rule, Interrupt cards may be played by everybody, but only the C-in-C can play the more powerful RED Interrupt cards which tend to have a more battlefield effect.
I tip my big feather cavalry cap to you Mr. Mustafa for another fine game.
General Hungwell

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Some news

I too have bee struck by the "Beginning of School Chaos". The Girl started high school and with it Volleyball and marching band. The Boy is still doing competitive soccer with team we don't seem to have enough players for. Not good, since this is the year we play on a full size field with 11 players instead of 8.
With all these activities, I'm trying to finish two rule books, help on another and get my work done. Painting has taken a back seat.
On a lighter note, I will be hosting a Saturday morning game at RECRUITs. It's the Great Race game I hosted a few weeks back. Then, I using my rules, but Cluck Amok's toys for a FIW game in the afternoon. Then its off to a soccer game.
And Thursday's regular game night is now Wednesday irregular game night. But, it seems like everyone is excited for Longstreet and with a little fun with the campaign. Meet some of the generals, thanks to Photoshop.
John of Curio Clashes
Yours Truly

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fistful of Lead: Horse & Musket Scenario Playtest...

... or "Bad Day for the Legion vol. IX".
Trying to be a good author, I thought it might be a good idea to make sure the scenarios I'm putting into Fistful of Leads first supplement for the Horse and Musket period actually works.
This was a tryout of ye olde take the bridge scenario.
It's written for any period but as I have an abundance of Maximillian in Mexico miniatures, that's where this one took place.
The Republican forces are trying to find a bridge crossing to outflank Imperial troops. They stumble upon a lightly defended bridge. They must secure the road beyond before nightfall.
The Bridge and its road is defended by the French Foreign Legion. They are obviously outnumbered and need to drive off the enemy before more arrive.
To keep the game moving and give both sides a sense of urgency added a Special Rule. Those familiar with Fistful of Lead will understand the mechanic how cards are dealt to players for Activations. Normally, the Joker is left out. This time one is put back in. It functions as the lowest suit Ace in all respects, except that when it is played by a side, they need to keep track of how many times it comes up for their side.
Things at the bridge get ugly
If the Mexicans play the Joker 6 times, night has fallen. If they haven't secured the bridge. They lose.
If the Legion plays it 6 times, Mexican reinforcements show, and the position becomes un defendable.
I played the Legion. We never got a Joker, or a break. My fault. I spread to thin. The Republican troops came in one big mob. Half fired, while half charged. Good, historical tactics that paid off.
With 4 Jokers played by the Mexicans, I managed to kill about half before being overwhelmed.
I think it worked very well and could easily be applied to other scenarios. One thing I might do is add the second Joker in about midway. As players lose models, there are less cards being dealt, and less chance of a Joker.
The last holdout in the bell tower.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

For sale: Foundry Pirates

I've got 156 painted Foundry Pirates from their original line. And another 30+ unpainted. I'm in the process of organizing and getting proper photos along with the 5 ships I have.
These will tough to let go, but I'm throwing these up to my faithful before they hit eBay. Let me know if anyone is interested.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Return to Longstreet Lite

Since one of our biggest Civil War fans missed the last game of Longstreet, we decided to give it another game. Last round was very enjoyable, even with the Lite version. This time I added some more terrain and 3 objectives. Both sides held a town, but a hill in the center dominated the battlefield for the final objective.

Most of the players now had experience with LS. Play was a little more calculated. Decks of cards were burned quicker. I won't get into the full battle, but it was close for both sides. I thought I was kickin' ass in the center until I stopped to count the losses.
Once again, several of the boys commented they really liked the game. It may be awhile before we can try this with 28mm minis, but we have a little time before the full version of Longstreet hits the streets.
And the game's always better with a few brews. I highly recommend the Van Winkle and the Milk Stout.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Frost Giant's Daughter

...or chilling the Bones.
I was lucky enough to piggy-back onto Lead Addict's massive REaper Bones purchase. I bought all the giants they had for a 15mm project I have in mind using Copplestone's lovely 15mm barbarian line. These are big figs, but never really give the true giant vibe until you put them up next to a 15mm miniature. I based this paint job directly off the one on the Reaper site.
Some people have complained the Bones aren't as crisp detail-wise as the lead version. I thought the detail was fine and paying $5 compared to $25-$30 these usually fetch? No brainer. She was a joy to paint.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Great Race

Yes, race fans, it's that time again! Time for the Great Powers to gather and put their finest men and machines to the test.
There were only going to be a few guys over last night, so I dug out an old idea with some new rules.
The rules aren't even really new. I took two boardgames, Powerboats and Quicksilver, and pulled them off the board. This was a race using all my scratch-built VSF contraption.
Each vehicle had a Perk, like "Easier Turns", and a Flaw, like "Poor Armor". Hopefully they balanced each other.
Britain pulls ahead!

Italy makes it's move
Additionally, I added cards for Dastardly Deeds, allowing players to shoot at each other, cancel card effects, and give boosts to speed.
The table was laid out with areas of bad terrain, impassable terrain, and of course, the flags players had to navigate through.
Speed was done ala Powerboats. We used d6s marked with only 1-3. At the beginning of their turn, a plater could add a die, subtract a die or reroll a die. This gives a number between 3-9. Instead of inches, I marked off a measuring stick with 3 inch increments. Going speed "3" actually means 9".
The race went thusly:
Otto Von Hackenkopft roared ever so briefly into the lead, only to be shot at and droppedt to zero speed by mine own Sir Nigel Soggybottom. Nigel took second briefly to be passed by Luigi Tortelinni.
That left third squarely to Francois Fraumage piloting the infamous L'Roue of our GASLIGHT battles fame.
Most of the race Luigi stayed firmly in the lead thanks to his great turning perk. Normally, players can make a 60 degree turn, or a 120 turn but have to take an armor hit from the strain on the vehicle. Luigi's vehicle makes a roll, and on 4-6, he ignore the hit.
Things get complicated at turn 4
Second and third switched on an off between France and Britain, with much skullduggery. Poor old Germany never recovered from the initial assault off the starting line and was dead last.
It was a lot of fun and a perfect con game. Can't wait to see what 6-8 players on the board would have done.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fast Play Grande Armee beat down

Continuing what I guess has turned out to be "Mustafa Month" we had a play of an old favorite, my choice for large Nappy battles "Fast Play Grande Armee" or FPGA.
I'm going to post some pics, but let Scott, who ran the game and provided the minis, tell it over at his blog.
The scenario took place the day after a battle. Both sides had been mauled and had fallen back during the night. They all started damaged in some way, and the Austrians were split up trying to cover to towns. They job was to consolidate and not be split up by the French.
It did not go well. The French lost a mere two stands to the Austrian's 14.
Initial dispositions

Red dots show casualties from the night before

The Austrians

The French

French move their heavy cav to the center

The fight for the center