Tally Ho!

Sunday 31 December 2023

Christmas Game - battle of Worcester 1651

For this year's Christmas game we refought the final major action of the ECW, Worcester 1651, where Cromwell (Roy) squared-up to Charles II (Chris) and his Scottish allies. We had planned to have Powick Bridge on a separate table but switched that when the number of attendees was reduced. We had seven players fighting on a 12" x 5" table.

Field viewed from Worcester 

The Royalists had most of the English plus some cavalry reserves located around Worcester, ready to attack the Parliamentary guns on Red Hill. Further south Keith (played by Keith in a great bit of nominative determinism) were emplaced guarding two bridges and a Parliamentary pontoon.   



Highlanders close up

Parliament had Dean and Fleetwood's troops opposite the bridges, while Cromwell was opposite the pontoon with his cavalry. A brigade of New Model Army supported the militia and guns on Red Hill.    

Dean and Fleetwood


Roundheads overlooking Worcester

The NMA brigade

The game began with both sides making important moves. The Royalists, with Charles II at the head, attacked towards the waiting Roundhead forces, pushing back the Parliamentary horse as the infantry advanced under cannon fire. Cromwell also dispatched the bulk of his horse towards Red Hill in the hopes of slowing down the attack there. 

Charles attacks

Cromwell makes his move

In the south the Scots advanced towards the bridge and were successful in bottling-up the Roundhead attacks as they had to move in single file across the bridge. Initial honours were with the Scots as they could bring more shots to bear and so steadily ground-down the attackers.    

Confusion at the bridges

Around Red Hill it was mixed fortunes for the Royalists. They managed to rout the NMA contingent but were unable to push-back the militia. Cromwell's cavalry also arrived to tip the balance. Several waves of attack went in from the Kings Guards with Charles nearly dying as one unit broke. He bravely attacked with a second unit but fell mortally wounded as they too routed.       

Cromwell's troops swing the balance

In the south the Parliamentary forces finally got sufficient troops across the river to start hurting the Scots but it was too late the affect the overall result.

Red Hill is held 

So the final score was 3-2 in favour of the Royalist as they held both Worcester entrances and the hill overlooking Powick Bridge. It was a slightly pyrrhic victory as Charles II lay dead and the guns on Red Hill were still able to bombard Worcester.  

Tuesday 19 December 2023

December round up

 With the completion of the current WWII campaign we've been trying out various rules needed for future games. As preparation for the D Day campaign we tested the beach assault and aircraft rules in Rapid Fire Reloaded. 

15mm D Day for Rapid Fire Reloaded

Beach assaults are good fun and a rare chance to deploy all that kit you bought but hardly ever use. Things seem balanced with the only tweak being that games will need to have slightly more turns as move rates are slowed on the sand.  

As expected aircraft are pretty underwhelming, with on average one successful strike every 3 - 4 turns being what you'd expect. The attacks are also fairly weak. So either we beef them up with some sort of morale effect or make them very cheap as you can get decent AA for 10 - 20 points. 

We also reminded ourselves of Tercio, the Spanish set of ECW/TYW rules we plan to use for the Christmas game. The central mechanic is the issuing of orders cards to each unit that have both an action and reaction option. Guessing what your opponent may do and trying to issue the right orders is the game-within-a-game for what is otherwise quite simple rules. 

Sunday 10 December 2023

Axis of attack, WWII Campaign - week 4, part 1

This promised to be an important week of the campaign as both sides were attacking final squares and so had a chance to close-down an axis of attack and claim the VPs. The British were attacking in the north and centre with the Germans attacking in the south. I was away so not many shots of these games I'm afraid. 

In the north the battle continues into a second week and the result is in the balance. In the centre the British were able to win at the second attempt, collecting 1 VP. In the south the British held off the Germans to claim 0.5 VP.       

As we hoped to complete the campaign before Christmas we have declared the Allies the winners on 1.5 VPs to 0.5VPs and the first to achieve a breakthrough. We will complete the remaining game and try some of the special rules needed for our future D Day campaign.  

The main aim of the campaign had been to test the rules and give us all a chance to play after a long break from WWII. Rapid Fire Reloaded is certainly a quick set and does encourage all-arms play. We'll be adding air attacks for D Day and limiting massed tank attacks outside of GOODWOOD-style scenarios. 

Saturday 2 December 2023

Axis of attack WWII Campaign - week 3, part 2

After a COVID / work inspired gap we managed to complete the final game of turn 3. This involved the Guards armoured attacking some German infantry dug-in around a major road junction. The Guards were in GOODWOOD mode with lots of Sherman's while the Germans had loaded up on AT guns.

The main attack fell on the German right with Firefly's deployed to cover the M4 Sherman's advance. They quickly dealt with the STUGs and some of the AT guns but the rest of the Germans held their fire.    

Things got attractional for a while as the British tried to wear down the Germans without the aid of artillery support. This was a slow business as the Germans were dug-in. 

Eventually the numbers told and the British took one objective before proceeding to put heavy pressure on a second. Time was not their friend and they simply could nt dislodge the Germans from the central village before darkness fell.  

So a draw, meaning it will be refought next week but the  Germans score 1/2 Campaign Point  for holding on. So turn 4 sees all three battles being for control of an Axis. The end of the mini campaign is in sight.