Monday, October 11, 2021

Some Pre-Dreadnought Action with Steel Ships and Iron Hearts

 On Sunday October 10th, our local group got together at BlueSky Hobbies in Bremerton for some Pre-Dreadnought naval action using a set of Rules originally developed by the late Dick Larsen.

Between us all, we have quite a collection of pre-dreadnought ships, mainly Navis models or scratch built and haven't used them for some time. I was always partial to Perfidious Albion Naval rules because it was so easy to play but some didn't like making the ship diagrams and didn't like the damage rolls where many of the hits did nothing and seemed like saving throws which we despise.

So we dusted off the rules we played with Dick Larsen many years ago and cleaned them up a little and put them to the test. If you are interested in them, they are available in the files section on our Group web site here:

I was using two German Battleships, the Brandenburg and the Worth and was allied with Tom Condon who had two American battleships. Opposing us was Gary Williams with the French battleships Brennus and Jaureguiberry. With Gary was Kevin Walker with the Charlemagne and St. Louis.

 This picture is about half way through the battle. The Jaureguiberry has blown up and sunk with a lucky hit on it's magazine by the Bandenburg. The Worth was quickly reduced to 80% damage and is now dead in the water with a fire on it denoted by the red puff ball.


A closer view of the French ships. We didn't actually use the shell splash markers in the game. I set them out for the photos, but they do denote the armor rating of some shell hits they just received. In our rules the shell rating denotes their penetration value but the shell size is used to determine how much damage they do. I'm going to have to modify the shell splash marked to indicate both shell size and penetration value before we can use them properly.


A closer view of the American ships. The SMS Brandenburg is at the top.


I believe this is the Charlemagne taking  four hits from the Brandenburg but with an eight armor rating, they will all be non-penetraing hits. For an eleven inch shell that is 24 damage points each, but the Charlemagne has about 1110 points total. The Brandenburg will have to close to within 3000 yds (30" in game scale) to penetrate class eight armor.

The Brandenburg steaming to close the range.


There we go, a couple of penetrating hits on the Charlemagne. Unfortunately the Brandenburg was pummeled in the process and ended up with 80% damage and dead in the water. The battle ended in a "Draw" with only one functional ship left on each side. Although not as detailed as Perfidious Albion, the rules gave us a quick, easy to play nd fun game that seems to be very balanced.

Here is a copy of the Data Sheet I used to play the game. We'll tweak the rules a bit and next time it will be a Cruiser action. We're always looking for new players, so if you are interested join our and get notifications of all our upcoming games. BlueSky Hobbies is a great place to game and there's a Tavern located downstairs in the gaming area. What more could you ask for, beer, pizza and wargaming all in one place.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

 ENFILADE 2021 Sharp Practice AAR

 Blow Up the Bridge X 2

 A scenario presented at the NHMGS Enfilde Convention on Sept. 4, 2021
 I put on two games at the NHMGS Enfilade Convention in Olympia, WA over Labor Day Weekend. Both were the same Scenario where the French are trying to capture two bridges to make a Flank Attack on the British. The British with some Spanish Allies have been sent with a small force to blow them up. Captain Sharpe with Sargent Harper and some Rifles are attached to the Spanish to help them along. The details of the Scenario setup are given below the AAR.

The French are tasked with capturing the Left Hand Bridge which is defended by the Spanish. A detachment from the 4th Polish Regt. in French Service has the Right side Bridge to capture which is defended by the British. Unfortunately in the 1st game some of the Poles wandered over to the Spanish held bridge and helped the French which resulted in a slightly skewed game. For this reason I will only report on the 2nd game where I was a bit more forceful in the French deployments.

To keep things moving I arranged the cards so that generally two played would activate at the same time, one from the British side and one from the french side, but on opposite sides of the table. So when a Spanish Leader activated so would one form the Polish side. When a British Leader activated, one from the French forces would also. There were a few cards that were individually activated like the Sapper Officers, but for the most part two players activated at the same time but on opposite sides of the table so one didn't interfere with the other. As you look at the pictures, you'll see the table if fairly divided length wise down the center of the table by terrain to facilitate this.
 In the opening moves the Spanish boldly move out getting the Guerillas to the bridge. The Spanish Explosives wagon really isn't on the table yet. On the other side the British are slow to move out, the Poles having used an MDP to get down the road quicker and prevent the British from getting the extra 6 inches for hidden deployment.
The French deployed early and didn't get the use of the MDP and took awhile to get into action.
Spanish Fusiliers going across the bridge. Sharpe and the 95th rifles to the left of them. The Spanish sappers and the explosives wagon are deployed. Spanish Guerillas move forward to meet the French. In background, the British Grenadiers have moved across the bridge and there is a Light Infantry skirmish Group supporting next to the bridge.
British Grenadiers bravely stand their ground as the Polish Column approaches.
Meanwhile the French are slowly trundling down the road. With four Command cards available the polish player brings in a troop of polish Lancers. Hard to see, but there are some Polish Voltigeurs in the woods next the column.

The Poles do a "Pas de Charge", but end up two inches short. British Column moves up and take fire from the Polish Skirmishers. Meanwhile the Spanish Fusiliers have formed Line awaiting the tardy French
French Skirmishers finally get into action as the column moves up.
One of the French Skirmishers had his head blown off and I had to get the Super Glue out. (actually I fumbled the figures trying to help the French player move them)
The Poles attack again, but the Brits have already moved the column up to support. The odds are fairly even, but the Poles win. Unfortunately Level III Captain Studzinski of the Poles and Level II Lt. Rod Stiffington of the British Grenadiers are both killed in the fisticuffs.
The outcome of the melee resulted in the British Grenadiers being wiped out and the Column being pushed back. Lt. Butinski of the Polish Grenadier Group takes over command of the Polish Column.
The British Line attacks the Poles and force them back, but both units have taken a bit of Shock.
British Explosives wagon is slowly making its way to the bridge.
French Line is still not in the fight, but the French Skirmishers have done some damage to the Spanish.
The British Line nearly wipes out the Polish Column with musket Fire, but the Polish Lancers charge in and drive the British back to the Bridge. The British Wagon finally makes it to the bridge and begins to set the explosives.
Meanwhile the Spanish Sappers have fully set their charges and are ready to light the fuse.
French Line has finally entered the fight and starts to put casualties on the Spanish Line and the Guerillas, but it is too late.

We had to call the game at this point as the Game Period was ending, but it looked like both bridges had a good chance of being destroyed. The Poles had very little to fight with on their side and all the Spanish had to do was retreat across the bridge before it blew. However, the British Force Morale had been reduced to zero while the French were at Force Morale of 2. So technically a French Victory, but hard fought on both sides.

A close game with a lot of action involved especially on the Polish-British side. I was pleased with how the double activation worked as it kept all players engaged in the game. The French player seemed to be plagued by a lot of low movement rolls as it took him forever to get his main force involved. On the other side of the table to British Force Commander who activated at the same time as the French Force Commander seemed to be able to do quite a lot. He was able to move up to support his Grenadiers and drive the Poles back. He had less distance to cover however, and I think he deployed on three Command Cards earlier in the game than the French Commander did.

 Here is the Scenario Map. I changed a few things for the actual game. The terrain is slightly different and the French Entry point is in the middle rather than off to one side. This was done so that the British and Spanish Deployment points would be hidden and so give them an extra 6 inches of deployment distance. The map is from Tabletop Simulator Mod where I tested this several times in preparation for Enfilade.

Following is the Scenario setup

Some where in Spain in 1810. The French are attempting a flank attack on the British, but to do so they most hold the only two bridges across a river that bars their way. A small force of Polish and French is sent to capture the bridges before the main French attack column arrives. The Poles are assigned the bridge on the right and the French the other.

Meanwhile a combined British and Spanish force has been sent to blow up the bridges before the French arrive. As the quality of the Spanish is doubtful, Lieutenant Sharpe has been assigned the aid the Spanish along with a Group of Riflemen including Sharpe’s trusted sidekick Sergeant Harper. The British are tasked with the left side bridge and the Spanish must blow up the one on the right flank. Both must send their infantry across the bridges to allow the sappers time to set the charges and then recall their forces back before lighting the fuses.

 British and Spanish each roll 2D6 and place their DP that far along from their starting point at the Eastern edge of the table.(i.e. from where the DP markers start).

 They then deploy from their Deployment Points according to normal rules.

French enter from their Deployment Point on the road normally on the first turn however they have a MDP which must first be used by any of the Skirmish Units that have the MDP Characteristic. It is placed and used as per the standard MDP rules.

As he has been tasked to assist them, Lieutenant Sharpe can try to activate the Spanish Units, but they will not always follow his orders. Each time he tries to activate one of them, roll a D6. On a 4 through 6 they will follow his command. On a 1 through 3, they will ignore him. Sharpe looses one initiative that turn for each time he fails to activate them. 

For the Enfilade game, I added a Group of Polish Lancers that the Polish player could bring on by playing four Command cards. They arrive on the road at the Primary French Deployment Point.

The Sappers may do a Task roll with 2D6 once the Wagon has reached the center of the Bridge. Once the total reaches 12 the charges are set. Then the fuse must be laid taking one Action per 3 inches of fuse. Only one Sapper at a time can lay the fuse. It takes one action to light the fuse. 

Once lit, the fuse will burn for one turn for each three inches of fuse, blowing up the bridge when the last turn's Tiffin turns up. Any figure within 3 inches is Dead. Any beyond that but still within 12 inches rolls for being hit as if in the open with a plus 3 modifier and any Shock is Doubled. For every three inches from the 3 inch Dead zone, reduce the modifier by 1.


Here are the Forces involved with the Leader Cards so you can see how the Leaders are paired so One French and one British are activated with each Card. The only ones that activate by themselves are the Sapper Officers. A lot of times they end up being activated by the Force Commander, either British or Spanish or by Sharpe. At some point I'll add the Unit Characteristics, but players of Sharp Practice should be able to figure that out on their own.

Constructive comments always appreciated. I hope you found this AAR interesting.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Sharp Practice AAR Enfilade 2019

Well my two table Sharp Practice Scenario previously presented here, went well at the NHMGS ENFILADE Convention this past Memorial Day weekend. It achieved the result  of keeping everyone occupied and busy the whole game. Was a bit chaotic and I could have use some help running the game, but the played seemed to enjoy it.  The outcome was a bot mixed however and wargamers will always find a way to break any scenario.

The background to the Scenario is that the Rebels have made a raid into British territory and made off with a wagon load of arms and ammunition needed to arm the local Militia. They are being pursued by a force of British and must make it across a bridge to escape. Another Force of British is arriving in front of them to block their access to the Bridge. The British also need the arms to give to their  own loyalist Militias. A river runs between the two table and is impassable terrain, so the only way to escape is across the bridge.

Meanwhile on the other table(Table A) a Rebel force is arriving from the North to hold the Bridge open for the escaping Wagon. A British Force with Tory Provincials is arriving from the South to prevent this.

 Since the previous Scenario presentation, I resided things a slight bit. I added another unit of skirmishers to each side so the players on each side and on each table would each have two units to command. I moved the terrain around slightly to allow units to deploy into line on the road on Table B.

 I made Rosters for each force on each table with pictures of the Leaders matching the card decks. This way, players could find their leaders and units more easily than if they just had numbers. Even so, some players still got confused and mixed up leaders.

I also had cards for the  wagon Master Walter Sobchak, the two Reverends, one on each table on the Rebel side, (Rev. Hal E.Looya and Geven Brimstone) and the two Doctors on the British side,one on each table. This was to allow them easier activation in case the Force Commanders(Ldr 1) card didn't come up during play. I also use a Second Tiffin card to help keep things moving. If any Tiffin came up first, it would signal an End of Chapter per the Rules.  I've found the second Tiffin helps even things out a bit especially in Convention games.
 Finally, I added some rules to provide a chance of the wagon blowing up if hit by gunfire. They were as follows:

If Wagon is in line of fire or within 4" of a target receiving fire, then there is a chance the wagon will be hit. Count the wagon as another unit sharing dice and allocate hits against it. If any hits roll 1D6: 1 hits Driver, roll on Officer Hit table for effect; 2-3 hits a horse = minus 1 pip on movement dice for each hit; 4-5 hits wagon with No effect; 6 hits Gunpowder blowing up and affecting everything within 6" radius. Roll for each figure on Table 11 (Hit Effects) as if they were in the open and counting Any Shock as doubled.

I made sure both sides knew that preserving the weapons and ammunition on the wagon were a high priority for both sides.

I was pretty busy running the game so didn't take a lot of pictures. In the picture below the near side is Table B. The British Regulars are occupying the blocking position on the road. It was awhile before they had any help from their accompanying skirmisher unit that was supposed to arrive on the road in the foreground on Turn 2. The Rebels used their MDP to deploy their Frontiersmen Riflemen up by the white cabin and they began to pour effective fire into the British Regulars for most of the game..

For some reason the Rebels elected to use their Main Deployment Point to deploy the Wagon and the rest of their Forces. The close pursuing British Grenadiers managed to give them some fire into their rear causing double Shock, but with the help of the Reverend Hal E.Looya they Rebels were able to recover. Where the Wagon is shown is about as far as it got. The Wagon Master, Walter Shobchak shared the hits on the Militia ans was knocked out. He recovered on his next activation, but was hit again later and killed. Why the Rebels didn't deploy the wagon using the MDP is a mystery to me.

On table A the Provincial Regulars went up the right side of the table and ensconced themselves behind the log cabin where I guess they thought them selves safe there leaving their skirmishers to carry on the fight. They eventually came out from behind the house, but not before the Highlanders had pretty much carried the day on the left side of the field. They had become engaged in a firefight with the Continentals and a Fisticuffs which drove the Table A Rebel Force Morale to Zero.

Meanwhile on Table B, The Rebel Militia along with the Frontiersmen skirmishers had whittled the British Regulars at the Road Block down to three Soldiers plus Sgt. Mal Ingerer and Captain Warren Peace. The Rebel Continentals on this side had effectively held the Grenadiers off from capturing the wagon and British Force Morale was down to two.

So the wagon could have probably gotten across the Bridge if the Rebels could find a driver for it, but once there, it had no where to go since the British had driven off the Rebels who were supposed to hold the bridge open. Perhaps that is a scenario for another time where the Rebels try to force their way through the Highlanders and the reluctant Loyalist infantry on the other side of the table.

So ends my attempt to run two separate games at one. It certainly kept everyone busy, but it was very difficult to umpire. If some of the players were more familiar with the rules it would have been a lot easier. Overall I was satisfied with the result and the players seemed to enjoy the game.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Tactica 2 at ENFILADE 2019

 On Saturday May 25th, 2019, Memorial Day Weekend, I put on a Tactica II game at the NHMGS Enfilade Convention in Olympia, WA. The contenders were some Trajanic Romans vs a Barbarian Warband German Army. The Army Lists are shown below. I had to make some substitutions to flush out he armies, the Germans outnumbering the Romans by 354 points.

Having used all my Roman figures, I had no extras to even up the points with. So I added some allied Armenian Cataphracts and lower grade Auxilia armed as Legionnaires(using my Pontic imitation Legionnaire figures). The Germans outnumber the Romans slightly in Heavy Cavalry, but the Romans are better quality and they have some Light Infantry Auxilia to help out. The Germans have over one and a half times as much Heavy Infantry as the Romans, but again it will be a battle of quantity vs quality. Also the German warbands get Impetus, which can give them double dice in melee if they pass their Control tests.

 German players discussing strategy. Both sides made three rolls for terrain per the rules. Germans got a small rise(which they deployed in the middle), a flank piece of Rough ground which they discarded and a patch of Clear terrain. Romans rolled up two patches of Clear terrain and one Gentle Rise which they chose not to use. Rules say you only need to take one of the rolls.

 View from the opposite of the table. Germans out two HC and a LC on one side and 2LC and a HC on the other. Romans have a HC, a LC and a LI on each flank plus the Cataphracts on this near flank shown below. Romans are shown deployed in individual Cohorts. They elected to deploy them "reinforced" before the game started

Chris Leach att the far end graciously helping out with coaching the players. He played in a Greek vs Persian Tactica game the previous period. Roman Cohorts are shown "reinforced" in this photo. Neither side wanted to advance, electing to use their skirmishers to try and whittle down their opponents before committing their main force. The Germans eventually did advance with their cavalry wings, more so at the far end where they had an advantage.

This photo is almost two hours after the previous one. I was too busy running the game and forgot to take pictures. The game had been fairly even to just before this point. At the far end the German heavy cavalry are just about to rout the last Roman flank unit at that end. At this end, the opposite is true. There is one German Heavy Cavalry unit left being ganged up on by Roman HC and the Cataphracts.It held on surprisingly long. The big story is further down the line where there is a gap in the units. See next picture for explanation.

Here you can see a big gap in the German line. What happened is this. The German player attached his General to a unit to bolster his dice(you get two extra dice for an attached General, but there is a risk). His unit took three melee kills. When such an event happens you roll for the General and anything but a six and the General survives. He rolled a six! Then you roll a Control Test and he failed that leaving the Unit disordered. Being disordered you only roll half your dice and if out scored in any melee area you roll another Control test, a failure resulting n unit routing. Of course he failed forcing the adjacent units to test morale the one to the right of the gap failed.

Meanwhile on the Roman left flank we see the German Heavy Cav about to rout the remaining  Scythian Horse Archers. Onre of the Roman Cohorts has routed leaving a gap in the line, but the Cohort to its right has apparently failed its Panic Control Test and is Disordered. The Roman Auxilia Cohort is still alive at this point and you can see one of the German Warbands has been flanked by a Roman Cohort from the gap created by the demise of the German General's routing unit.

Looks bad for the nearest Roman Cohort being flanked by German Heavy Cavalry, but the cavakry unit ended uo 1/8" short of contacting. This was the last move of the game as the game ended after the melee phase.

This is a marked up photo to show the remaining units. Legion 1 has losy four Cohorts, Legion 2 has lost two. The Germans have lost three Warbands.

The shows the Roman right Flank. The German HC Unit is gone, its loss pushing the Germans over their BreakPoint the loss of their General also contributing 10 points toward breaking.

A clear Roman Victory, but it was closer than it appears. Many of the Cohorts were near breaking having survived some Warband attacks with Impetus. Lesson to be learned, don't attach you General early on in the battle. Save him for later on when he might make a critical difference.

If you think you would like to try Tactica II, the rules are available from On Military Matters
Item 1-16660 Conliffe, Arty

Monday, April 01, 2019

Sharp Practice, Race to the Bridge AAR

 This was a playtest of the scenario presented in the previous Post, but only of the right hand side of the table. As described in the previous Post, I will have two games going side by side at the Enfilade Convention in May. The ungrateful rebellious colonists have made a raid deep into enemy territory and have made off with a wagon full of ammunition and weapons needed to supply the Militia. They need to get the wagon over the bridge and exit off the North side of the other table.

The British have a DP at the cross roads and get to deploy one Unit using that DP. They also get a barricade as a Support Option. The rest of the British come on at the South Road on the turn after the Rebels have deployed all of their Units.

The Rebels get a Deployment Point which they can deploy 2D6 +6" from the South Road entrance. They also get one MDP which can be deployed as per the rules.

(Note: Added Scenario rule. Rebels cannot hold up deployment to delay British entry at the South Road entrance. If a Rebel Leaders card comes up, he must deploy with his Command. This is to prevent the Rebel player from holding up the British pursuit Force by keeping one Group off the table.)

Below is the map showing the position of troops after a couple of moves. The British deployed the Fusiliers(their best troops) just South of the Cross Road with one Group behind the barricade and the other behind the rail fence.

The Rebels got some decent first moves and were able to get up to the farmhouse area, the Continentals going down the road, Militia in the woods and Skirmishers in the hog pen to hold up the British pursuit.

The pursuing British sent the skirmishers to harass the Militia and the Regulars to try to cut off the escape of the wagon.

Picture that pretty much matches the map above. The Continentals were looking and got some early shots in that took out a few of the Fusiliers.

The Continentals take some fire from the Fusiliers and the British Skirmishers from behind, ending up with quite a bit of Shock. The British Regulars put some shots into the Rebel Skirmishers knocking their Leader, Capt. Upton O. Goode unconscious. A subsequent End of Turn draw with the Tiffin and he is back in action. The Wagon Master, Walter Sobchak get a good move and wheels the wagon out of the line of fire.

British Regular Commander, Capt. Warren Peace, wants to charge the skirmishers, but doesn't get the Command Flags to do a Thin Red Line maneuver. He was plagued the whole game by missing activations. The Reverend Hal E. Looya has  a couple of good rolls on 1D6 (a 4 and a 5) to enable him to remove nine Shock from the Continentals allowing  them to slowly move up.  Meanwhile, Walter Slobchak gets the wagon closer to the exit point. The Militia turn and fire at the British Skirmishers taking half of them out and forcing them to retire. They were ineffectual for pretty much the rest of the game.

 I gave the Wagon Master his own card instead of letting him be activated on the Force Leader's card. His card came up much more than Capt. WarrenPeace's did and he got very good movement rolls also.

I added another Scenario rules regarding the wagon. Since it was carrying gun powder along with the  weapons, there was a chance any stay shots might set off the gunpowder destroying the whole wagon. As the British wanted to recover the wagon so they could supply their own Militia forces, there is incentive for both sides to not shoot at it. If within four inches of a Group taking fire, it would be subject to hits just like another Unit.

If hit, roll 1D6, A 6 hits the Wagon Master(roll for effect just like any other leader), a 5 hits the Horses(-1 pip per movement die for each hit) and a  1 thru5 hits the wagon with a 50% of blowing up. Roll for Hits in Open for every figure within six inches of the wagon with any Shock doubled.

 A view from the other side of the table. We had a Random Event in the Pig pen with the pigs stampeding, but they narrowly missed running into the Rebel Skirmishers. The Luck seemed to be with the Rebels, no doubt due to the intervention of the Reverend Looya.

 The Reverend had a significant effect on the game. He was a Support Option for the Rebels and came with a Relic ( Cross of Saint Whatever) that enabled him roll 1D6 twice to remove Shock. His first roll got a four and the second one on his next turn was a five. This resulted in the removal of all the Shock on the Continentals allowing them to continue to move.

 As with the Wagon Master, I gave him his own card. In the event of the loss of leaders, I would allow him to use Command Flags to be able to command Units, but that was not needed in this game.

British Regulars can never seem to be able to get enough movement. Either the Regulars were tired from the pursuit or Captain Peace was a malingerer.

 Continentals try to charge the barricade, but end up an inch short. They were taking quite a bit of fire from the Fusiliers, but the casualties were minimal. The Fusiliers just couldn't seem to hit anything today. Between Capt. Hiram Cheaper, Level 3 and Sgt. Frank Sansbeens , Level 1, they were able to remove just enough Shock to allow the Continentals to move forward if they had decent movement rolls.

 The Continentals manage to charge the barricade. Although outnumbered in melee dice, they inflict three more kills than received on the Fusiliers, driving them back and breaking their Formation. Captain Cheeper moves to within hailing distance of Walter Sobchak and tells him to get his ass in gear and move the wagon. The British Regulars manage to wipe out the Rebel skirmishers except for their Leader, but the wagon is too far away to catch.

  Ending dispositions. The Militia were largely untouched, illustrating the fallacy of putting six man skirmisher Groups up against twenty figure Militia units

With British Force Morale at "1" and the Rebels at "8" we called the game as there was nothing to prevent the wagon from exiting the table.

Although this was a small game, it was very enjoyable and had couple of Dramatic moments, the Shock removal by the Reverend and the epic charge by the Continentals. I really like the way the narrative plays out in Sharp Practice games and can only hope the Convention game goes as well.

Have a few tweaks to work out in the scenario and I should be ready for Enfilade 2019. In this game we found we had to move the farm house and the pig enclosure over to allow room for the forces to deploy in line. If you look at the last post Map, you can see the difference.  I will also add another skirmish unit to each side so each player will have one Formation of two Groups and one skirmish Group to command.With two players per side, that will ensure each player will have enough to keep him busy. Will probably move the British set up on table B back just a bit to give both sides more room to deploy. British player on Table B will start with one Unit on the table North of the road junction and the other unit coming on at the Eastern road entrance.

Any comments welcome and if you use this Scenario, please send me some feedback. Thanks for looking