Showing posts with label black powder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label black powder. Show all posts

Friday, 20 October 2017


Fired up by the small skirmishes of The Pikeman's Lament, our group have been looking at a set of rules for larger 17th century battles. To this end we decided to give Baroque a go last night. It's an extension of the Impetus system, which a couple of members are familiar with; the rest of us would learn as we went along.

Gary put together a couple of armies from his collection; a lot of the figures were not correct in any way at all, but he managed Swedes (in the foreground) against Poles (background).

There was a lot of variety in the troops available; this Swedish cavalry command contained dragoons, a combined horse and shot unit and caracolling pistol-armed reiters. The opposing Poles were equally diverse.

Dave observed, pointing dramatically. On this flank, Swedish trotters faced Polish hussars.

The infantry in the centre was much as you'd expect; pike and shot units, with some integral light guns (in the Swedish case) or supporting medium guns (for the Poles).

The first combats were on the Swedish right. The dragoons seized the woods to threaten the Polish flank, whilst the lighter missile-armed Polish cavalry rushed forward to engage.

Some nifty firing followed by opportunistic charges saw the Poles disordered and routed. We quickly discovered that this was a system where, if you seized the moment, you could cause things to turn very bad for your opponent very quickly.

The Poles lost two units in one turn. Some Swedish reiters who'd pushed forward very aggressively were also caught and routed.

On the other flank JohnP launched a sudden, risky, attack on the Polish hussars with one of his units of trotters. Again, the cascade of responses, counter-charges ad pursuits took hold; the hussars failed to counter-charge, and were caught at the halt, which completely negated most of their advantages. They fell back and the Swedish pursuit took them into the second unit, which also retreated. Another pursuit saw both units routed. The Poles best cavalry were gone in virtually no time at all. Their loss collapsed that flank, and put the army's morale in jeopardy.

On the other flank a swirling continued melee was won for the Swedes when the dragoons rushed out of the woods to join the fray with clubbed muskets. The ensuing rout saw the Polish flank commander captured, and their whole army breaking.

In the centre the infantry had barely advanced into artillery range, and now the battle was over. However we decided to spend the remaining time playing their action out as a separate game in its own right, just to get a feel for the way infantry combat worked, and to better understand the game's general mechanisms.

We soon learned that having the initiative is very important, and that because you resolve the actions of each unit in turn, the timing of your shooting and attacks is critical. Even deciding when to react to enemy actions is important.

The Swedes initially had the upper hand in the infantry fight, mauling a couple of Polish infantry units as they advanced. But a sudden shift of initiative saw the Poles able to exploit an advantage they'd gained, and roll up the Swedish infantry line. The important thing was that we got to try and understand more mechanisms.

Overall we were impressed by Baroque. It has a lot of risk and reward; you can push units and risk disorder, or failure to act, but if it comes off you can make attacks that can collapse the enemy fairly quickly. I suspect that use of reserves to counter this is a key tactic. There's quite a few markers involved, mostly to keep track of casualties and disorder, but you have to remember which units have reacted, which commands have moved and even which special abilities have been used. This isn't too hard, but is worth noting for people who like a clean table. The rules seemed fiddly in places, but I suspect with further play things become more obvious. We had a fun evening, and I think that's as good a plus for a set of rules as you can ask for.

On the other table, Ralph and Daniel played Black Powder - something Napoleonic by the looks of it.

In addition Gary presented Peter with a trophy to mark his victory in our Maurice campaign. He felt it was worth marking the fact that we'd finished a club campaign; something we've never done before.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Return To Kolin

We did a refight of Kolin a few weeks ago, using Maurice, and it proved very successful. Indeed some members of the group did it again a couple of weeks later. This evening we tried it again, but this time Gary adapted it for Back Powder, so we could see how the rules compared. We used 10mm figures from Gary, Peter and Caesar; mostly Pendraken, I think.

Both Austrians and Prussians had about five commands each, with the Prussians having a shooting edge (simulated by use of the Sharpshooters ability). Their objective was to take two out of three designated objectives; the two hills and the town of Kolin on the main hill. They had ten turns in which to do it.

Here's the Austrian setup. We opted to ignore the one hill, and concentrate on defending the main one and the town. This was a high-risk strategy, but we felt that trying to defend both hills was stretching our forces too thinly. However a strong force of cavalry and supporting infantry was placed on our right to turn the Prussian flank there and compromise their attack.

The Prussians. They put the bulk of their cavalry on their left, and went for an infantry attack in the centre. One command was far out to their right, tasked with seizing the nndefended hill, and then rolling up the Austrian left.

The Prussians advanced. Their artillery scored a few long-range hits.

On the Austrian right Peter and Dave isolated Ralph's cavalry, leaving him looking a bit concerned.

The game rattled along at a cracking pace. For all its faults, Black Powder can play quickly.

Ralph was missing his 28mm figures, so created his own cavalry in an attempt to hold back the advancing Austrians.

:Lots of out-of-focus cavalry, in a big fight.

Meanwhile, on the main hill, the Austrians organised a line to hold the wave of Prussians advancing towards them. There was one unit of Austrian cavalry on this flank - the elite cuirassiers. They botched their order to advance, ambled towards some Prussian infantry, failed to charge and then broke when the first shots were fired at them

The cavalry action was intense, and thinned out units on both sides, but the Prussians got the worst of it. The Austrian cavalry pursued the scattered remnants, whilst their infantry reformed to move onto the left flank of the Prussian attack.

The Prussians advanced onto the unoccupied hill.

The Austrian line. As their commander was said to have put it, as he groped his mistress (or maybe it was just a random passing peasant-girl) "We're going to build a line. It's going to be a great line. A beautiful line. I build the best lines. Tremendous lines. And do you know what? We're going to make the Prussians pay for it. I'm going to make Austria great again."

Bits of the line then fell apart.

The Prussians now had a lot of troops plodding up or towards the ridge.

The small-handed Austrian commander tried to rally his troops.

It wasn't all one-sided. Whilst not as good as the Prussian shooting, Austrian musketry did accont for a few attacking Prussian units. But they always had more to feed into their line, whilst Austrian reserved were few nd far between. Over on the Austrian right the infantry counter-attack was stalling in the face of some rubbish command rolls.

The Prussians began to envelop the Austrian left.

Reinforcements arrived from teh Austrian right, but at that stage we decided that they were too little, too late, and conceded to the Prussians.

Black Powder once again delivered a brisk, enjoyable game and the period modifications went some way to making feel less generic. However in the discussions afterwards we felt that it still didn't have the period feel that Maurice does, with units collapsing quite quickly once the fighting starts, instead of the long drawn-out firefights of Maurice.

Still, we had a good time, and thanks are due to Gary for once again putting together a great evening's gaming.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Ligny - Black Powder in 15mm

Last night we played Ligny (some early 19th century battle set outside of South America, between the French and Prussians, I believe) using Black Powder, 15mm figures and Black Powder's inches converted into those continental mini-inches they call 'centimetres'.

Gary put together a fine scenario with plenty of troops, and Ralph has done an excellent job of writing it all up HERE

I took a few pictures, which you can enjoy after reading Ralph's account.

Before we started, Ralph gave us a solemn reading from one of his holy books - 'Albion Triumphant', I think. 'Blessed are the British, for they shall inherit all manner of good national characteristics' I believe was the subject of his sermon. But the British weren't in this battle.

These are the Prussians. And a windmill. Occupied by a mouse. I saw a mouse! Where? There on the stair!

Before we started, Bryan explained flank charges to us. Our club's Yahoo Group has seen more electrons expended on flank charges in Black Powder in recent weeks than on any other subject in the entire  history of wargaming.

We had one flank charge all evening.

The French, in column. Having seen the mouse in the windmill (Where? There on the stair! Where on the stair? Right there!), they rushed to rescue it from the Prussians.

More French columns, also intent on rescuing the mouse. A little mouse with clogs on.

Napoleon hid behind a house and made sure that his artillery didn't do anything useful all game.

A pretence at tactics - the French columns advanced on one of the defended villages between them and the mouse in the windmill with skirmishers screening them from the worst of the Prussian fire. The mouse was so happy that it went clip-clippity-clop on the stair.

The French cavalry appeared.

The French charged the villages. It all looked very impressive.

Prussian cavalry. There was more of this than there was French cavalry and, to be honest, it was about as good. And they mostly hid behind the stream

The French cavalry skulked about in disorder as their commander exerted all of his efforts trying to get their artillery into a decent firing range. He failed to do this for the whole battle.

The glorious sight of a massive Napoleonic battle.

The same glorious sight, but with more table clutter.

And that was it for my pictures. Neither Ralph or I managed pictures of the actual final assaults on the two villages, nor Bryan's skirmishers getting routed by Prussian cavalry nor the same Prussian cavalry being routed by dashing French hussars.

This was an ambitious game to play on a Thursday evening, with players who were a bit rusty with the rules and a lot of figures on the go as well. Gary did a great job putting the scenario together, and the sight of the massed 15mm figures was pretty spectacular. Part of the reason for playing at this scale was to allow us more sweeping moves on a reasonable sized table, but we still managed to cram the whole thing int half of the available playing space. We're just typical wargamers; give us an eight foot table and we'll fight the battle in a three foot section every time.

The mouse remained in the windmill. It sang every morning: "How happy I am." So that's OK then.

Remind me not to drink before I write blog posts.

Friday, 1 July 2016

Glory Hallelujah - Antietam

A nation divided and torn apart over issues of race and self-determination. A wealthy conservative elite leads their population out of the Union. Chaos. A dark time in the nation's history.

But enough of current British politics. Last night we played Black Powder, adding in rules from the new ACW Glory Hallelujah supplement,and had a go at a scenario based on the earliest stages of Antietam. Essentially this was the action across the Cornfield, except that for reasons of simplicity we left off the cornfield. And, as is traditional, of course, the Dunker Church ended up with a spire, rather than looking like a white-painted house.

Basically we had three brigades a side, and just set to. It was really about trying out the rules. Some of our group are giving them a full test over the weekend when they play another big Gettysburg game. This was a practice.

Here's the setup - Union on the left and Brexit on the extreme right. Sorry. Confederates. And just on the right. Getting distracted there.

The Confederates were itching for a counter-attack from the word go.

Union troops worked their way down a road through the woods.

A Union brigade advanced towards the Dunker Church in a column of regiments, whilst the Confederates rushed to meet them in a supported line. It was all looking a bit Fire & Fury.

In the centre skirmishers from both sides dominated the action.

On their left the Union shook the troops in the woods into lines.

There was lots of firing on the Confederate left as Ralph, commanding the Union, tried to get units to bear.

Confederate units in the centre routed, leaving a big gap. The Union artillery was mostly responsible, slicing and dicing any unit which got in range.

Fighting in the woods.

On the Confederate left a regiment finally  got in a charge, and swept their Union opponents away. However the supporting units all stood their ground, leaving things looking a bit shaky for the Rebels.

At that point we called the game. There's was still fighting to be had, but things weren't looking brilliant for the Confederates.

The changes to the rules were interesting, making it a lot harder for units to charge - possibly too hard in my opinion - and leading to a series of deadly firefights. Passage of lines is harder as well, meaning that you have to plan how your troops will get to the harp end of the battle more carefully. It was certainly a change playing a less fluid game of Black Powder, and it will be interesting to see how the bigger Gettysburg game goes this weekend.

Meanwhile Gary and John P played Saga. Here's another shot of those Norman knights people liked from last week's report.

Geoff and 50th birthday boy Peter played big-battle DBA.

Peter brought sweet, sticky wine, cake and nibbles for us all. Geoff allowed him to win in a Sarmatian/Successor battle. Nice one, Geoff.

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