Monday, July 18, 2016

"Altogether elegant"

Good fortune has landed me several W. Britains diecast spring-loaded breech-loading toy soldier artillery pieces, including two of the 4.7" naval guns as described in Mr. Wells' Little Wars (or at least the 1960s W. Britains' re-release version of said gun, to be specific).  Mr. Wells called these toys a "priceless gift to boyhood" and noted them "capable of hitting a toy solder nine times out of ten at a distance of nine yards" (!).


I must admit my existing gun crew look quite nicer with the four point seven than with their plastic seven pounder... I shall have to decide on whether to give this play-worn toy a coat of fresh paint or not.

Sadly, the addition of these pieces underlines the notable absence of appropriate cavalry for my British and German armies (1900-1910 period).  This can easily be cured with a purchase, but I cringe at the thought of painting cavalry (for no real reason).

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pikes Rampant!

Continuing to toy around with a Lion Rampant variant for the English Civil War now nicknamed 'Pikes Rampant'.  Two previous outings were enjoyed by all and I'm planning on offering this for 2-4 players at our next get-together.  Having never played a 4-player Lion Rampant game before we took it for a test spin first.  Each of us had two 'commands' of 18 points each, usually one of entirely foote units and other having all the Horse.



It really went rather well and we laughed a bit and things got rather frantic for a few rounds as basically every unit on the table almost seemed to converge quite close together all at once.



As usual the ending was a bit 'meh'.  We were using the vanilla 'Blood Bath' scenario but with
the "dice to determine if the next turn is the last" threshold kicked up from 4 to 8 units remaining.  The last turn rule roll was successful immediately and we totaled our eliminated unit points and the game was as dead tie.  We were lazy and did not issue boasts so there were no bonus points to break the tie.



What I should have done was purchased a 3" x 24" strip of basswood, flocked it, and deemed that the "objective" to be held and used the 'Hold on Tight' scenario instead.  That one at least gives you the "who has won the field" type of conclusion rather than a mathematical "who has more toys on the table" one.


New unit profiles were included this time for freshly painted Scot Covenanters: lancers (which were Mounted Yeomen from Lion Rampant straight up with shorter range because pistols not bows) and frame guns (a cheaper but more fragile cannon than a light gun).


Monday, March 21, 2016

Land Wasters and Raven Feeders


Tried Dan Mersey's own Arthurian/Dark Age Britain variant of Lion Rampant.  Same rules, just some units renamed, some not available.  We set up 24 points per side, "Britons" (a mix of Welsh and Romano-British figs) vs. Saxons.  Each side has 2 units foot Companions ("men-at-arms" in Lion Rampant) , 2 units Warriors ("fierce foot" from LR), and 2 units of skirmishers ("Bidowers").  Scenario was "Hold on Tight" from LR, which I assumed would move us to a quick conclusion.



The central piece of terrain each side was trying to hold was the rock-strewn ford of the river.


I was playing the Saxon dogs and was perhaps to hesitant.  I could have easily dropped a unit of companions on the crossing early on but instead tried to set up a situation where my warriors could stream across either on their own or via wild charges.





Instead what happened is the Briton companions got there first. And then the Saxon warriors who were all in position to attack those British companions got shot to pieces by British skirmishers and broke and ran.


On the other flank British and Saxon warrior wild charged each other in the river and both units broke and limped off home to lick their wounds.


The British Companions, meanwhile, were racking up the five points necessary to win the scenario by just always starting their turn at the crossing.  The Saxon warlord and his personal bodyguard (the other unit of companions) risked an assault, and were repelled, the fifth and final point went to the Britons.


This game was ridiculously fast.  Somewhere between and hour and 90 minutes long.  Recommend!

Monday, March 14, 2016

English Civil War - Lion Rampant Variant

Put together a play-test on Friday of a English Civil War Lion Rampant variant.  Each side had 28 points, giving each two units of muskets (12 figures each), a unit of pike (12 figures), two units of cavalry ("trotters" or "gallopers", 6 figures per unit), and a light gun.  Unit profiles used are at the bottom of this post (they themselves draw from the ECW and Elizabethan variants I found on the LR forums).  We used endgame criteria and set-up as in Scenario A of the Lion Rampant rulebook.


Below is the whole set-up at the start with the Parliament musket unit at the bottom having just moved.  We successfully played the entire game start to (a surprisingly decisive) finish in under two hours, including a brief introduction to activating units in Lion Rampant and set-up.





In the above photo you can see the Parliament Trotters advancing.  



Above: Royalist foot on the advance. Below: opening shots as both sides come into range.




Above: Royalist light gun crew.   Below: Royalist foot advances.



Above: behind Parliament lines.  Below: the turning point in the game. At the top you can see Parliament horse threatening the Royalist gun.  At the bottom you see the Parliament and Royalist horse units that have both been reduced to 3 of 6 figures per unit.


Now below you can see the outcome. All the Parliament horse has been routed on both left and right at little to no cost to the Royalists.  On the Royalist left gallopers (lead by thier fearless leader!) are now preparing to charge the Parliament musketeers...


...whom are also routed. The Royalist horse then whip around and take out the Parliament gun.  The Royalist center foot take out the Parliament pike block.  The Parliament army has been completely run off the field.  With the exception of its light gun, all Royalist units are still intact and on the board.


The "x factor" of this playtest was the performance of the Parliament "trotter" horse.  In multiple charges they attempted to use the "stand to receive" rule and let loose a volley of pistol fire at their attackers. Almost always the end result was the charge still hit and the resultant melee was loss or a draw.  A whole unit of Parliament muskets also became stalled near the village and perhaps fired one volley the entire game.

For future tinkering: Shotte shooting range of 18" is fine on a small playing space but on a larger one range should probably be increased to 24".  A "first fire" rule for shotte might be effective without being unbalanced: very first volley of game for each shotte unit is at shoot value 3+, or just easier to activate the very first time to shoot because the unit has all muskets already loaded and ready to go?

We did not use the 'Bang!' light gun rule as described in its profile and that was a mistake.  Both guns connected on hits but both failed to remove a single figure during the course of the game.

The speed of the this game is of note, and I thought it had the an accurate-enough feel to it (outcome of the battle of the horse basically determining the whole game).  As always, felt reassured that Royalists stuck to period-tactics and carried the day while Parliament sort of floundered around, with its foot not concentrated very well, and was swept from the field.

All figures are either Old Glory Miniatures or Warlord Games plastic miniatures.

Unit profiles used for this game were as follows:

Unit: SHOTTE
Points: 4
Attack
7+
Attack Value
6
Move
6+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
4+ / 18"
Courage
4+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
2
Special Rules
None
Models Per Unit:
12


Unit: PIKE
Points: 4
Attack
6+
Attack Value
5+
Move
5+
Defense Value
4+
Shoot
--
Shoot Value / Range
--
Courage
4+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Pike Hedge: As per Schiltron, but may move 3"
Models Per Unit:
12


Unit: GALLOPER
Points: 6
Attack
5+
Attack Value
3+
Move
7+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
--
Shoot Value / Range
--
Courage
3+
Max. Move
10"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Wild Charge; Counter-charge
Models Per Unit:
6


Unit: TROTTER
Points: 6
Attack
5+
Attack Value
4+
Move
5+
Defense Value
5+
Shoot
6+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 6"
Courage
4+
Max. Move
10"
Armor
3
Special Rules
Counter-charge or Stand to Receive: If charged unit may fire a volley rather than counter-charging. Test same as counter-charge. Any casualties inflicted are removed and courage test taken by attacker prior to resolving the melee.
Models Per Unit:
6
  

Unit: LIGHT GUN
Points: 4
Attack
--
Attack Value
--
Move
6+
Defense Value
6+
Shoot
7+
Shoot Value / Range
5+ / 24"
Courage
5+
Max. Move
6"
Armor
1
Special Rules
Light Gun: This gun can be moved at cost of not firing in a turn, or retrained in any direction at cost of half its shooting dice. 
Bang!  All targeted units count as Armor 1 (2 if in cover)
Models Per Unit:
One gun plus 3 crew. Use six dice for attacks, halved if only 1 crew remaining.
 

Monday, March 07, 2016

A Gentle Stroll

We played the "A Gentle Stroll" scenario from Lion Rampant last night using Hundred Years War figures by Old Glory.  The English (Gabe) had to move half of their units from the upper left hand corner of the below picture to the lower right.  The French (me) were deployed in the other two corners and needed to prevent at least half of the English from escaping.



To help move things along, we "house-ruled" that both sides' leaders had the "Commanding" skill, which allows a unit to re-roll one failed activation per turn if within 12" of the leader model.  As units were spread out this was sometimes useful and sometimes not.




Both leader units clashed early on in a knight vs knight melee.  The French got the worse of it.





But by the late stages of the game both leaders were out of the game and the large French force which had trouble moving early started to roll into action.



Things got a little touch-and-go for the English for a second but in the end the billmen and a unit of archers slipped away.  We're not really sure who actually one because half of English units escaped but half were also destroyed.