Tally Ho!

Sunday 28 January 2018

Kings of War - assualting the river

This weekend we played the fifth game in our ongoing Kings of War campaign featuring my fantasy Persians against my brothers Dark Elves (Kin). In this game both sides had to carry as many victory markers as possible over the half way line (marked by a stream) with one additional marker in the centre. Both sides started with 3 markers, which must be assigned to a specific unit.

Thinking through the scenario in advance it occurred to me that as the Dark Elves have several cheap units of flyers (Gargoyles) they may well give the markers to these and try to "snipe" a win by hiding these at the back then suddenly rush them over the half way line in the last 2 moves. To counter this I selected 4 small units of cavalry (Scouts and Sergeants) to act as a mobile backline to sweep-up these.

When deployment began it was clear I was wrong though - the Dark Elves assigned the markers to the heavy infantry and massed most of their troops on their right. I in turn had massed my best troops and the victory markers (Kings Guard infantry and Knights) opposite the ford on my own right, where they would be least hindered by the stream. So I abandoned my backline and instead deployed the cavalry to try and delay the Dark Elves advance.
The field from my left

Field from the Elves left with their lancers in the foreground

the mighty Mamakil

Elves main attack
So given our deployments this was going to be race in two parts, Firstly which of us could advance our right flank quickest to get our markers over the line then threaten the enemy. Secondly who could seize the 7th (central) marker which might be the tie breaker.

My own advance was swift and largely unimpeded as the Dark Elves only had a unit of skirmishers opposing them who were quickly brushed aside. Over on my left my small cavalry units succeeded in slowing the advance of the Dark Elves, aided by some spoiling attacks from my infantry and Jinn.

Persian Knights advance

The delaying action

In the centre the Dark Elves lancers pushed forward crushing my Mamakil and unit of archers before capturing the all important 7th victory marker.

Nasty lancers roll me up

Still delaying

Elves turn to face my flank attack

As my own right flank advanced in a wide arc into the enemy centre I was able to continue delaying the Elves own advance with my small cavalry force and some well timed fireballs from my wizard. In the centre the Elves lancers fond themselves isolated and were attacked by two units of my heavy infantry. who succeeded in retaking the 7th objective.

Lancers are isolated

Still delaying!

Persian Knights sweep away the Elves flank

As we entered turn 6 my flanking manoeuvre finally arrived and the Knights were able to attack and rout one of the Elfish infantry units carrying a victory marker. So in the end my Persians held the objectives 5 - 2. The score perhaps did nt reflect the full action as my casualties were about double the Elves.

lovely Gargoyles

Victories Knights

So an interesting game and not quite the one I'd expected. In hindsight had the Elves sought to contain the Persians then use flyers to get their objectives  over the line at the end I may have really struggled to move rapidly enough.

For the elfish version check here http://fishpondswargames.blogspot.co.uk/2018/01/artefacts-of-kyron-campaign-battle-5.html

Friday 26 January 2018

Strike Fast ECW Campaign - second practise game

For our final warm-up game before the campaign proper, we used the other force available to the Scots - the Covenanter army. This only had 3 units of Highlanders but had additional artillery and 40% more infantry overall than the Royalist army. As agreed after the last game, the Highlanders would be allowed to fire volleys but would have its combat bonus reduced to +1/2.

In this scenario both sides deployed on a low ridge with a farm in the centre and a series of enclosures on one flank the other main features. Both sides divided their Horse equally between the two wings but the Scots broke-up one of their foot units to provide commanded muskets in support of 2 Horse squadrons.

Long view of the game from Cromwell's left flank

Scots lancers ready to attack

Covenanter centre

More Scots Horse on their right

Cromwell's centre firmly camped on the ridge

Parliamentary Horse on their left

Cromwell's veteran troopers on the right
On this occasion Cromwell decided to hold in the centre in the hopes of drawing the Scots to him and away from their superior artillery. They duly obliged with a general advance across the line.

Highlanders leading the attack

Covenanter troops push through the fields
On Cromwell's right his Horse clashed with the Scots cavalry and despite the presence of the commanded shot made decent headway against them, pressing them back towards their baseline before routing them completely.

Mounted clash goes for Cromwell 
In the centre the Covenanter forces drew closer to the English lines and commenced a short, sharp, fire action before charging up the hill.  This combat favoured the English though as they were Veterans, uphill and able to fire into the advancing Scots. The first wave was thrown back in confusion.
English thin read line

Highlanders attack

and bounce off!
A second attack by the Covenanter pike and shot met a similar fate, with the attack stalling at the base of the ridge.
A hard slog up hill

View from the Scots right
By now the English horse had won one both flanks and was able to threaten the rear of the Scottish position. With 50% of the Scots routed the game went to Cromwell.

Ironsides finally overcome the lancers

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Strike Fast ECW Campaign - week 0 (practise game)

As a prelude to our latest campaign we held a practise game this week to remind ourselves of the rules. We're using "Captaines and Calivars", an ECW variant of Ian from Hinton Hunts, "Musket and Marshalls" Napoleonic rules.

We've used the rules before but never with Highlanders, so this was an opportunity to test them. The campaign itself is set in 1650 and follow's Cromwell's suppression of the alliance between the Royalists and Covenanter's that attempted to seize control of the UK, often known as the Third Civil War.

We rated the Highlanders as 8" move, +1 in combat, and no shooting - this being accounted for in the increased melee factors. 

Since this was a trial / rules refresher we went for a very simple setup with both sides splitting their cavalry equally between the flanks and massing all their infantry in the centre.  Both sides deployed dragoons forward to hold a village (Royalist) and fields (Parliament) near the centre line.  

Royalist Scottish lancers on the left flank

Royalist centre-left
The Royalist forces place 6 units of Highlanders in the front and backed by an equal number of Irish mercenary troops. This would give us an early test of their fighting power.

Royalist centre right - highlanders to the fore

Cromwell's horse on the left

Cromwell's centre-left

Cromwell's centre-right

Cromwell's right
Cromwell was likely to enjoy a significant advantage on the right flank as his Veteran troopers squared off against the Raw Scottish lancers.

Long shot of the game from the Royalist right 
The game began with a general advance across the line from the Royalists forces as they sought to come rapidly to grips with their highlanders. Cromwell held in the centre (save for an incursion against the village) but advanced his cavalry on the flanks.
Highlanders advance quickly past the village
As is traditional with many ECW games the first action was on the flanks as both sides sought to impose themselves on the cavalry melee. On Cromwell's left the action was pretty even with both sides well matched. On his right however he made short work of the Scottish lancers but was in able to prevent his troopers from pursuing the beaten enemy.

Scottish lancers move forward
Crunch - this would end badly for the Scottish 
As the centres clashed we got our first chance to see how the Highlanders performed. Several units swept quickly passed the village and charged headlong into the waiting English troops who met them with a steady fire.
Highlanders advance on the English 
Royalists attack on Cromwell's left
Pipes playing the Highlanders prepare to charge

Highlanders advance stalls

It is fair to say that the results were disappointing for the Royalists as both Highland units rebounded off the English line and found themselves Disordered for their troubles. A second wave advanced but found themselves under fire from across the English line and under threat from Cromwell's horse who had managed to win on both flanks. So after 2.5 hours play we declared the Parliamentarians the winners.  

Scots somewhat outnumbered

English make progress on the village.

It was pleasing to achieve a result within 3 hours for a large game (nearly 30 units a side) but we concluded the Highlanders needed a further review. It was slightly tough to judge their true performance though as they diced so poorly. Despite being +1.5 up I most melees they still managed to loose most of them due to some awful dice rolling. We are considering 3 options:
  • Have less of them so they matter less - a shame as we have lots and they look great!
  • Reclassify them as Pike & shot but of poor quality.
  • Allow them some limited shooting (volleys and short range) but reduce the combat bonus
I would like to try the later as this seems to reflect their tactical method best, so I'm looking at:
  • Move 8"
  • May shoot / volley at short range only
  • +1/2 in combat
  • May not form pike stand as historically they were vulnerable to horse charges

Saturday 6 January 2018

Parachute Assualt

For our final game of WWII before beginning our ECW campaign we decide to use one of the very few scenarios I've not played from Charles Grants "scenarios for wargamers". In this battle the Germans were attempting to capture and destroy a radio transmitter, guarded by 2 platoons of Russians

Scenario details

The following apply to the attacker
  • There are 4 Jump off points (numbered 1-4).
  • Teams are assigned a turn to arrive, max 4 per turn
  • Dice for each team: 1-4 they arrive at that JOP and 5,6 they are delayed until a future wave
  • Troops may not be attacked the turn they land
The following apply to the defender
  • All teams are on overwatch until they fire or are attacked

The Battle

The Russians deployed with a platoon in the village, 2 sections plus 2 maxims guarding the radio transmitter and a section plus 2 light mortars in a near by pumping station. 

The transmitter sitting on a hill with a JOP in the foreground
View of the hill from the village

The defenders dug-in around the transmitter

The village on high alert

The pumping station 

As dawn broke over the Russian positions a low drone overhead heralded the arrival of the German para's first waves of troops drifting silently from a cloudless sky. Most of the Germans ended-up landing to the north east or north west of the radio station. The former coming-down close to the village and the Russians defending there.

Germans creep into the stream bed

Germans to the south - soon they would be under heavy mortar fire

The Germans moved swiftly into a convenient stream bed and began a gloaters-style action as they poured fire into both the radio transmitter and the village.

German main position in the stream bed

The defenders are thinned put by German MG fire 

Germans ready to move off

This had the desired effect of weakening the transmitters defenders and pinning the bulk of the Russians in the village.  This allowed the Germans to manoeuvre troops into the woods near the transmitter and launch a series of assaults into the defenders.  The Germans landing to the south through fared  badly as they were decimated by accurate mortar fire from the pumping station.  

The first assault goes in

Follow-up attacks rout the defenders

With the position desperate, the Russians in the village staged an attack of their own, but it was too late to prevent the destruction of the transmitter.

A morale boosting Russian assault

The transmitter falls 

The Verdict

These types of games are tough to balance and its easy to write something where the attackers have no realistic chance to win. So I perhaps over compensated here by making the Russians RAW troops. This meant they were easy prey to the Germans fire even when dug-in. So that would be something to fix in a future scenario.

Also we found the Germans were not terribly inconvenienced by the jump itself so perhaps a higher chance of troops being late or landing off-table next time?