Thursday, February 15, 2018

Pas de Charge vs Thin Red Line

This is a play test of a Scenario I am planning to run at the NHMGS ENFILADE Convention in May, 2018. (For more on Enfilade see here: )

For this Scenario we have two fairly equal Napoleonic forces both trying to capture a bridge somewhere in Spain. They approach from opposite sides of the map with a ridge of difficult terrain between them. The British because of the Riflemen, have a higher Points total so the forces are balanced by the French taking a Secondary and a Movable Deployment Point as Support Options. Whomever holds the Bridge or drives the opposite side Force Morale to zero wins the game. French enter from the top road, the British at the bottom. Tan spaces are difficult terrain and woods are light cover. Low stone wall provides light cover and is a minor obstacle. River is un-fordable.

Each side has three Groups of Regulars and three Groups of Skirmishers. One Group of French Skirmishers are dismounted Dragoons and one Group of British Skirmishers are Spanish Guerillas. At Enfilade, I was planning to use some Vistula Legion troops so have upgraded the French to use the Polish Stats instead of the normal French values. Doing so also allows me to use equal numbers of troops on each side. Below is the Roster and Troops values. You can see each side has five leaders, one level III, one level II and three level I's. Force Morale starts at ten for each side

To keep the game moving, I made two mods to the rules. One, the first movement die roll is always a "six". This gets rid of a lot of fiddly movement and progresses the game better. none of this moving only two inches with a bad die roll. Second, we used two Tiffin cards to give everyone a better chance of getting to activate during the turn. Turn doesn't end until second Tiffin card is drawn, but if one comes up as first card,that an "End of Chapter" event.

 A view of the table layout. Troops at the end aren't really there. They're just staged there in preparation for being deployed.

On the first turn,  French Leaders 2 and 4 cards come up and they can deploy their skirmishers up to 18" away using the secondary Deployment Point. Group Sk1 heads for the central rough ground while Group Sk2 heads for the upper woods. On the British side, Leader 2, Lt. Rod Stiffington and overall commander Leader 1, Capt Harry Baals are both activated brinking Sk1 and the main line with them. Lt. Stiffington heads toward the central woods with Group Sk1 and Ldr 1 heads down the road with Groups Ln1 and Ln2. He detached Group Ln3 with Sgt.Bonner to support the skirmishers.

French Deployment of skirmisher Groups Sk1 & Sk2 with Ldr 2, Lt. Alain Contri and Ldr 4, Sgt. Emil Fortu

Initial British Deployment. British Ldr1, Capt. Harry Baals has dispatched Ldr 4, Sgt Sirius Bonner with Ln3 off on their own.

In the next couple of turns the remaining Forces all arrive.  French Leader 1, Capt Marcel Surbuti deploys at the 2nd DP with the French Line troops and promptly marches down the road in column. The Spanish Guerillas( Group Sk3) and the other British Riflemen (Group Sk2) arrive with their respective leaders and head towards the center of the field. Capt Baals with the main Groups of British Line continue marching down the road. Sgt Bonner with Ln3 figures the skirmishers have enough support and heads off to support his Captain. Meanwhile both French and British skirmish Groups Sk1 head into the adjacent woods and begin trading shots with each other. Three French and two British skirmishers are soon killed and each Group begins to accumulate some shock. Some where is this turn or the next few, French Ldr 2, Lt. Contri is wounded and drops to a level one. The other French Skirmisher Group Sk2 also moves into the adjacent woods and begins trading fire with the Spanish and British Sk2. Finally, French DragoonLt.Odur is activated and they deploy from the Movable DP into the walled grape orchard.

View of the British side of the field. Regulars with Capt Baal marching down the road toward the bridge. Sgt Bonner slightly behind with Group Ln3. French skirmishers in the foreground. Amazingly the Spanish Guerillas and British Riflemen Sk2 took no casualties in spite of spending quite a bit of time in the open. They did take some Shock though.

Capt. Surbuti marching down the road with all three Groups of French Line. Dragoons are taking cover behind the orchard walls which gave light cover.

Before the main French column advances down the road, the French Dragoons take a couple of casualties from the British Ln1 & Ln2 who are deploying into Line formation. British Riflemen Group Sk2 decide being in the open is no fun and move into cover of the woods. British Skirmish Group Sk1 takes another casualty in their fire fight with the French skirmishers.

French column bravely advances down the road after British have put a couple of casualties on the Dragoon skirmishers, Sk3. Whomever gets Initiative first next turn may be the deciding factor.

British Riflemen Group Sk2 wisely moves into the cover of the woods.Spanish have luckily accumulated no casualties, but are incurring Shock. Other Skirmisher groups continue trading fire.

Capt.Surbuti(French Ldr 1) has his troops deploy into Line and they get some good shots into the British Line causing about five kills. They take one kill in return plus some Shock. The French Dragoons get a kill on British Ln3, but are charged by them and suffer badly. The Dragoons rout back and due to excess Shock retire off the field. Elsewhere the Spanish Guerillas finally decide to move into cover. Sporadic skirmishing fire continues between the opposing skirmishers. Loss of the Dragoons and their leader along with the previously wounded Ldr 2, reduces French Force Morale from 10 to 5. 

French Line put some casualties on the British Line. They have three Groups to two so its understandable. British Ln3 has driven the Dragoons off in spite of the Dragoons have the advantage of defending an obstacle. Skirmishers must be no match for Line troops. A nice melee result for the British which may allow them to put some enfilading fire into the French Line.

View of firefight from the British side. Shock is building up on some units so something will eventually give.

 A very decisive turn. British Ln3 moves to flank the French Line but their firing is poor and only causes a few Shock. French Ldr1 next gets Initiative and with two Command Flags activates his formation with the Pas de Charge characteristic. This allows them to remove 2 Shock per Group and charge with 3D6. They just make it to the British Line and defeat them by 4 which with the extra Shock incurred, puts puts them off the field. British Force Morale drops from ten to three. Ouch!
Elsewhere both skirmish Groups Sk1 suffer another casualty.

Just before the French charge, British ln3 maneuvers to flank the French.
After the Charge. Most of figures by the hill are British casualties. Those remaining to right of hand, will withdraw  off table due to excess Shock. French line incurred quite a bit of Shock so British still have a chance to turn things around

Status of things after the French charge and melee. French Ldr 5, Sgt Leelair was also wounded in the melee.

Final turn. French Skirmish Group Sk1 has taken enough Shock that they have to withdraw reducing French Force Morale to five. Capt Surbuti gets the French Line to turn around and put some fire into remaining British Group Ln3. That along with some additional fire from French Sk2 is enough to wipe out British Ln3 reducing British Force Morale to zero.

British skirmishers all trying to put some hits onto the French Line. Unfortunately for them, the luck seem to be with the French this day. British Group Ln3 is wiped out before the French can be broken.

Thanks to Kevin Walker and Tom Condon for playing the British and to Gary Williams for so adroitly yet reluctantly(he doesn't like SP) handling the French Line troops in the roll of Captain Surbuti. I probably made some errors in this write up, but it was the best I could remember. I for one thoroughly enjoyed the game and it was good to see the French be able to use Pas de Charge to good effect for once in a game.

Some players don't like the card driven mechanics of the game because it can result in some players not being able to do anything. That's why we used two Tiffin cards, but it can still happen that some Leaders don't get activated, sometimes for a few turns. I've come to the conclusion,that SP is meant to be played between just two players. That way one almost always totally engaged in the game. With group or convention games with multiple players, some one is invariably going to get left sitting around watching other guys play. Anyone have a good fix for that, please let me know.

Hope you enjoyed this write up. Same but bigger scenario to be played at Enfilade, Memorial day weekend in Olympia, WA. We'll see there if Pas de Charge or Thin Red Line cam make a difference.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

Thought I would add another post to this blog before the year runs out. What better time than Xmas Eve. So to all you fellow gamers out there, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and I hope you have many good gaming years to come.

Sadly our little Group has been out of action for awhile due to all the Xmas and family business going on. We hope to get a game in around New Years. We went in together and ordered some CigarBox Battle Mats that we hope to put to good use. They had a 20% discount going on orders of three or more mats. If you haven't seen them they are pretty nice. Check'em out here:

So what's Mitch been up to since he hasn't been playing war games. Well I decided to get back into Napoleonic Sharp Practice(SPv2) so restanded some Victrix Napoleonic French I had painted some time ago.

Here are a few more. I've only got three Voltigeur figures and In SPv2 you need six for a Skirmisher Group so decided I needed to paint a few more.

So here they are in process. Nasty figures to put together. I can't see how one can glue the arms on and then paint the figures as they create crevices that I can't get into. So I paint the arms and bodies separately and glue them together later. Tedious but it works. I wouldn't buy Victrix figures again. If you know a better way, please let me know.

I have a box of Colonial Militia from Wargames Factory(now owned by Warlord Games, I think) and decided to paint up a few to see how they look. Just a tad bigger than the Old Glory ones  from Gajo that I have. I intend to paint up some more to replace the Custom Cast militia and skirmishers I have now that are noticeably smaller than the Old Glory.

 Here's a tray of some Napoleonic French wounded I've slowly been trying to paint to use for SPv2 Shock counters. Also have some British I haven't even primed yet. If we ever get back into SPv2 Napoleonic, I gonna need these.

Just finished another twenty man unit of Pathans for TSATF. More on the way. So many figures to paint, so little time. So far I have two units of Pathans and one unit of Brits(see below) complete with several more of each in various stages of completion. Some I acquired already painted and they need just a little touch up. Others need a little more work, but someday soon, Northwest Frontier action with TSATF will be on the menu.

Below are some British  artillery crew intended for AWI period. The black figure is a Surgeon figure intended as a Physician Support for Spv2. In the background a Commander for the Pathans. I've got enough projects going to keep me busy for a long time.

Best Holiday wishes to all of you. Not sure if I'll get another blog entry done before the new year. If not I'll see you on the other side.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Reverend Hal E. Looya

I was looking for a figure as a Holy Man Support option for Sharp Practice v2 American Revolution Period. There are several suitable ones available commercially ranging from monks to priests to reverend types. A good wargaming friend gave me one, but I thought he was a little too pompous looking (the figure, not the friend) for the Ungrateful Rebellious Colonists.

I had a box of the Wargames Factory AWI Militia plastic 28mm figures and decided I could make a suitable figure that was a little more what one find accompanying some rag-tag rebel soldiers. So I selected a figure and added a cross cut from card and a Bible made from Green-Stuff and below is what I ended up with. Meet Reverend Hal E. Looya, ready to bring salvation to the defenders of Liberty and Freedom and Damnation to those who oppose them. It was said where ever he would stop to preach, flowers would soon grow afterward.

 Here he is next to the more formal figure that I plan to use for the British Forces. Please excuse my poor picture taking and staging.

So I don't think he came out to bad. The box of Wargames Factory Militia  has all the figures such that when you glue their head on, they are all facing sort of down. I would have preferred a figure looking more straight ahead or upwards, but he is what he is. Of all the Priest figures I could find, I think the one by Crusader Miniatures, Pirate Motley Crew Pkg is about the most suitable for AWI Patriots, but the one I made is entirely suitable and I don't have to pay for two other figures I can't use. See below:
Thanks for looking

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Fife & Drum Rules, 1st Game

I've been looking for a good simple set of rules to use for the American War of Independence(AWI) and found these on the internet. We've been using Sharp Practice for AWI skirmishes, but I wanted to try something that would allow a slightly bigger game and would be a little faster. The rules are designed by the owner of the Fife & Drum 30mm range of Miniatures. They are one page and can be downloaded here:  You can check out his Blog here:

So I set up a meeting engagement too see how these would work. The Americans have slightly more troops, but the British are better quality. The Forces involved were as follows:

British:  Left Flank
7th Fusiliers 28 figures Elite(we ran theses as Grenadiers
71st Highland Regiment  26 figures
1unit of British Light Infantry Skirmishers 6 figures

British:  Right Flank
33rd Line 24 figures
British Legion(Loyalist) 28 figures

Rebellious Colonists: Left Flank
Md Continentals 28 figures
Va State Line 24 figures
4pdr Artillery piece
North Carolina Skirmishers(Rifles) 6 figures

Rebellious Colonists: Right Flank
Delaware Continentals 24 figures
North Carolina Militia 32 figures (no bayonets)
South Carolina Milita24 figures (no bayonets)
South Carolina Skirmishers(Rifles) 6 figures

This shows positions at the end of the 1st turn. Objective for both sides is to capture the cross roads.

This shows disposition at end of 1st turn on the American side. Each side had a Leader for each wing and one overal Commander. We allowed troops to start on table twelve inches from table edge, Skirmishers move really fast in theses rules, 16 inches.

This shows to British first move.

Anither view of the Colonist first move. I've got the right flank and elected to put my Militia troops up front with the De Continentals in reserve on the hill. Gary has the right flank and he has done the opposite, putting the Continentals up front and Va State Line in the rear. We both move our skirmishers up front to get some shots in with our longer ranged rifles.

British left flank, skirmishers out front followed by the Fusiliers and then the Highlanders.

The Colonist Militia move up to the rail fence hoping it will give them some benefit from the British advance. The South Carolina Militia were slowed by the woods and don't quite make it up to the fence yet. The SC Skirmishers have already traded shots with the British and have gotten the worst of it. Although they managed a few hits they themselves they have been reduced to half strength. They pass their morale check however so stick around a little while longer. Not shown on the other side, Gary's NC Skirmishers get a good volley in against the Loyalist Legion who subsequently fail their Morale Check and Rout back.

Maryland Continentals move up to contest the rail fence with the British line. Loyalists are no where to be seen having routed back.

They they go. Not a good day for the British Legion. Perhaps they will rally back.

A view from the British side of the field. Highlanders are moving up although slowed a bit by a small copse of woods.

South Carolina Militia versus Fusiliers on the Colonist right flank. Rebel Force Commander has moved up to give the Militia some moral support for the impending melee.

View from position of the Delaware Continentals in Reserve on a hill.

Rebels are getting the worst from the firefight. SC Skirmishers  are reduced to one stand and are done as a fighting force.

On the other side of the field, the Marylanders morale collapses as a result of the melee and they Route back.

Next turn, the Md Continentals rally and are ready to get back into the fight.

SC Militia cause some casualties on the Fusiliers but fail their Morale test with a Shaken result. They fall back and the Fusiliers take their position.

Highlanders advance and the Virginia State Line takes on the British Regulars. The British Legion failed to rally and flee off the field. NC Militia starts taking casualties.

An epic turn. Highlanders charge the NC Militia who fail their Morale and move back Shaken. On the other side however, the British Line take casualties from the skirmishers on their flank and are charged by the Virginians. It's too much for them and they Route back. British right flank is now completely gone.

The Delaware move up to hold the Fusiliers. Militia units have a good chance of rallying.

British Commander seeing his right flank gone decides to call it a day and orders a retreat. With three rebel units about to fall onto the flank of the Highlanders, it's probably a wise decision. Chalk up one Victory for the ungrateful rebellious colonists.

So our first play-test of the rules went pretty good. I'm sure we did a few things wrong, but the rules aren't bad and they move quickly. The turn sequence is initiative, move, firing , melee and finally morale although it's a little more complicated than that. From the Tutorial on the rules it looks like you do firing then test morale for casualties before going to any melees. It's also not clear to me whether you can charge and then fire before closing into melee.
There is a Tutorial  for the rules here:

You might also want to check out his Forum here: and look at Der Alte Fritz Rules, AWI rules and also his 7 Years war rules as they are similar and I think he has made changes in one set and uses them in the other also.

I would recommend these rules, but you are going to have to come up with interpretations of your own to provide clarity. With a little tweaking, they can give an excellent game and certainly faster moving than Sharp Practice.

If you are interested in the miniatures used, they are mostly Old Glory figures purchased painted up from Gajo Minis. The South Carolina Militia are old Der Kriegspielers miniatures painted up by myself. The British Line are some figures I bought off of  Ebay and repainted. Not sure what manufacturer they are. The Artillery figures are Hincliffe, also painted by me.