Showing posts with label campaign. Show all posts
Showing posts with label campaign. Show all posts

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The Battle of Midsomer Wellow

I set up and played another game in my Midsomer ECW campaign last night. The background, setup and basic campaign rules can be found HERE. The previous battles are here:

Midsomer Barrow - In which the two sides met for the first time, and Causton declared for the winner.
Ford Florey - In which both sides battled for control of some strategic river crossings.
Morton Fendlow - In which a Parliamentarian raiding force was ambushed by Royalists.

This game was the first in a new phase of the campaign, which now sees the Royalists preparing to advance and take Causton for the King. Rather than use my modified Neil Thomas rules, I decided to use it as an excuse to test out my Portable Wargame variant. Few changes were required to the campaign system described above; I had to change the way horse were classified to take into account Trotters and Gallopers, and I had to drop the pike/shot ratios for foot because the Portable Wargame is not granular enough to allow for that kind of distinction. I rolled the following forces:

3 x Poor Pike & Shot
1 x Average Dragoons
1 x Average Trotters
1 x Elite Trotters

1 x Elite Pike & Shot
2 x Average Pike & Shot
1 x Poor Pike & Shot
1 x Poor Dragoons
1 x Poor Trotters

The scenario, from One Hour Wargames, was Flank Attack (1).

Because of the precise nature of the One Hour Wargames scenario objectives, I didn't use the Exhaustion Point rule for this scenario. In addition I randomly added some areas of woods and enclosures to the otherwise open battlefield.

Now fully supplied, Lord Standing was ready to lead his Royalists in an attack on the town of Causton. Expecting a siege, Sir Thomas Barnaby began to pull back all of his troops in the county towards the town. The main part of his force was marching along the road from Midsomer Wellow when it encountered what appeared to be a small force of Royalists ahead of them. It soon became obvious that it was, in fact, part of the main Royalist force, who descended rapidly on the Parliamentarians. Sir Thomas quickly prepared his troops to smash through the Royalists and and reach the safety of Causton.

Here's the setup - Sir Thomas's troops were marching along a road, whilst ahead of them were two units of Royalist foot. The remaining Royalist units were heading towards the right flank of the Parliamentarian column. Parliament had to exit three units off the road in order to win.

The Royalist flanking force consisted mostly of dragoons and horse.

Sir Thomas went for an aggressive assault on the Royalist blocking force, swinging his horse onto their flank whilst assaulting them from the front with his personal regiment.

He covered the flank and rear of his force with the dragoons and some militia, who quickly found themselves under attack by the Royalist horse.

Amazingly the dragoons held off the attacks, and with the help of the militia soon put pressure on the Royalists.

The Royalists supported their foot on the road with dragoons in the nearby enclosures, but it wasn't enough and one unit broke. Sir Thomas kept up the pressure on the other unit of foot, aiming to force it away from the road to clear his escape route.

It was at this point that he fell, seriously wounded, whilst leading his horse in an attack on the Royalist flank.

Despite this, the Parliamentarians maintained their discipline as they moved along the road, holding off the Royalist attacks as they went.

With the Royalists seemingly unable to apply any serious pressure, Sir Thomas's army escaped.

This was a pretty quick game, and was over in five or six turns. Parliament were able to mount an effective attack on the Royalist blocking force, and clear the exit point, well before the Royalist flanking force could exert any serious pressure on them. Royalist shooting was abysmal; on one turn they failed to inflict a single hit on any of Parliament's units.

The Portable Wargame provided a perfectly adequate alternative to the Neil Thomas rules, and I'll probably try the next game, in which the Royalists have one more chance to move on Causton, using them.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Maurice Campaign - The Conclusion

I was a latecomer to the club's Maurice campaign, and last night was only my third game. But some others were playing their sixth, (maybe seventh) game, and were close to accumulating enough points to clinch a win if they played well in this session. So there was everything to play for as six of us settled down for an evening of 18th century warfare.

I used my Swedes again, an army design I realise was flawed from the start, with too many elite troops, and not enough regulars, leaving me sadly depleted and outnumbered after the first battle wiped out my quality and left me with no replacement quantity.

For the first time I defended, against Caesar's British.

I established a strong position behind a stone wall, whilst my cavalry operated on the left, opposite that of the British

The objective.

Basically the battle was a tight little cavalry action on my left flank, with Caesar's irregular light horse ...

... pushing through the wood ...

... into my rear ...

... where I charged and routed some of them ...

... before being attacked in turn.

There was lots of charging and counter-charging, and we both depleted our hands a couple of times during the wild melees.

The British gained the upper hand, and marched their infantry into position to exploit the possible opening on the flank.

But when the last Swedish cavalry unit broke, the army broke with it. The infantry never engaged, and only one Swedish stand even fired a shot.

The British infantry looked magnificent, but never even dropped out of column.

So that was a win for the British, and a third straight loss for the Swedes.

On the other tables, John P's Prussians faced Peter's Austrians ...

... whilst Daniel's Russians opposed Gary's Ottomans.

Prussians vs Austrians.

Ottomans vs Russians

Fierce fighting saw the Austrians defeat the Prussians.

And the Russians held stoically against an Ottoman attack, eventually breaking it.

Peter's win as the Austrians basically gave him a campaign win (he was a couple of points short, but really only had to just turn up for the next game, so we gave him the win anyway). Everyone was pleased with how the campaign had played out over the past few months. Even I had a great time, despite my shocking defeats. When we start a new campaign I'll be looking at starting with fewer elite units, so I can have more troops overall. And I might invest in some irregular cavalry as well; a few allied Cossacks wouldn't go amiss I reckon.

(Nice shiny photos courtesy of my new phone; I've retired my old iPhone 4S at last).

Friday, 14 July 2017

Succession Wars

A group at our club have been playing a Maurice campaign for the past few months, using the rules in the book. It has a rather neat series of mechanisms for creating alliances and pairing off armies, as well as providing some post-battle narrative and extra in-battle decisions. Indeed I'd recommend you give it a look if you're looking for ideas as to how to run a mapless club campaign; it ensures that every player gets a game in every session, which is always good.

Anyway, four of them have played up until now. I was the fifth; the odd man out. Whilst there is a mechanism in the campaign for this, it's less ideal than just having a sixth player. And a couple of weeks ago, we coerced JohnP, who has never played Maurice before, to be that sixth player..

So last night - the fourth round of the campaign - Europe saw six nations vying for supremacy. The players are split into alliances of equal size, and these last for the duration of a war. A war is a series of battles which are fought until one alliance has a particular majority of epic points (the VP in the campaign) over another.

On the one side we had Peter (Austrians), Daniel (Russians) and JohnP (Prussians). On the other was Caesar (French), Gary (Ottomans) and myself (Sweden).

My army is based on an alternate Great Norther War, where Sweden came off better against Russia and remained a major player in the Baltic. They also maintained their highly-motivated, small-army Ga Pa approach to warfare; my army is small and very aggressive, with a roughly equal mix of infantry and cavalry in terms of both numbers and quality.

I drew Daniel as my opponent, so we ended up with a rematch between old foes, on the Russian plains.

Here's my army, deployed to attack the Russian right. With only ten units (plus one of mercenaries), my aim was to strike one portion of his army very hard before he could bring his numbers to bear.

The Russians. A lot of the infantry were conscripts, but there were some guard units in there as well.

Meanwhile the other battles were beginning. Next to our table, Gary's Ottomans were attacking Peter's Austrians. Peter has gone for the bold move of having no national advantages for his army, thus allowing him to spend all of his points on troops.

Gary's Ottomans are very pretty, with hordes of irregular troops.

Elsewhere in the room, Caesar's French were defending against JohnP's Prussians.

Back to my game. I advanced both my infantry and cavalry as rapidly as possible. I decided to push the cavalry around the Russian right flank, which involved negotiating a wood filled with irregulars. Rather than be shot at, I used a Confusion card to draw one of the units out into the open ...

... and then rode it down.

Daniel moved his cavalry over to intercept, and that's where my plan fell apart. His lead unit was elite, and my lead units were elite. Despite my numbers, and Cavaliers national advantage, actually breaking his unit was very hard indeed. It wasn't helped by the fact that the Russians could rally like there was no tomorrow, thanks to one of their national advantages.

I kind of lost the plot at that point and, without really thinking it through, advanced my infantry into musketry range of the Russian line, despite being unsupported and outnumbered at the point of contact. Needless to say the two lead units were cut down, without inflicting any real damage on the enemy.

Eventually I scored a breakthrough with my cavalry, despite having lost one of my elite units. Unfortunately my units were also very shaky, and a charge by the last remaining Russian cavalry unit broke two of them, to give Daniel the game. Trying to push my infantry into a bottle-necked killing-ground was a bad idea, as was using my cavalry in a location where I had no real means of exploiting the advantages I had. Still, I imagine all of my early games will be  learning exercise with this army.

In the other battles, JohnP used Prussian discipline to march around the French flank, and mowed them down in droves. Not bad for a first game.

Meanwhile, Gary and Peter bashed away at each other, and burned through all three decks, leaving neither army unbroken at the end of the day. But Gary had captured the objective from the Austrians, to pick up a marginal victory.

The Ottoman win was the only one for our alliance, and saw the their side win the war and gain some extra points. However this also helps me, since lost units are generally replaced by conscripts at the end of a battle, and I had a few. However during the peace, conscript units can be trained up to regulars, which means that my damaged army has a little more backbone in it.

The next set of games - Round 5 - will see a new set of alliances fighting each other, in the Third War of Illawarran Succession.

(Looking through the campaign rules it strikes me that if you're playing a long game, you choose an army with lots of cheap conscript units at the start. Yes, you may lose a few battles early on, but conscripts are replaced at the same grade, and surviving conscripts easily upgrade to regulars, which means that, over time, your army will become worth far more points than it started with.)

Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Battle of Midsomer Barrow

In my previous post I gave the rules for my proposed ECW campaign using a modified version of the OHW Pike & Shot rules. This is the first battle.

It's 1642, the country erupts into civil war and many of the great and powerful rush to declare their allegiance to either King or for Parliament. In the county of Midsomer the two most powerful notables are Sir Thomas Barnaby and Lord Standing. The former declares for Parliament, whilst the latter declares for the King. The county is divided. Both men set about raising troops to secure the county for their chosen faction and, as the year drew to a close, their armies met at Midsomer Barrow.

I rolled 'Pitched Battle 1' as the scenario, which is a straight fight on an open plain. Parliament got lucky with their quality rolls and ended up with:

2 x Pike and Shot (Shot-Heavy, Elite)
1 x Pike and Shot (Elite)
1 x Horse (Dashing)
2 x Dragoons

Lord Standing's Royalists were less enthusiastic. He got:

2 x Pike and Shot (Pike-Heavy)
2 x Pike and Shot (Raw)
1 x Horse (Dashing)
1 x Horse

With an emphasis on close combat, Lord Standing elected to attack, with his horse pushing forward on his left. With a strong position on one flank he hoped that the horse could then support his out-matched infantry.

Both commanders led their horse into the attack.

The Royalist foot advanced as well. The better quality pike-heavy foot was in the centre, tasked with taking the hill the bulk of the Parliamentarian foot was defending. On their right the raw foot regiments were assigned the task of driving off the dragoons.

An initial disaster for the Parliamentarian forces saw Sir Thomas Barnaby wounded, leaving his forces in charge of Colonel Thomas Nelson.

The two lines closed and exchanged musketry. Both commanders moved to rally their foot, as the cavalry melee continued on the flank.

The Parliamentarian cavalry broke, and the Royalists pursued.

Their pursuit crashed straight into the Parliamentarian infantry covering that flank.

Sir Thomas Nelson rallied the dragoons, who were wavering under fire from the Royalist foot.

In the centre, ammunition was running low, and the Royalists were obliged to push their pikes up the hill.

Casualties were mounting on both sides.

The dragoons continued to hold on the Parliamentarian left, and Lord Standing tried to order his foot to cease the firefight which his men seemed to be losing, and advance. Some of his troops were not enthusiastic about the idea.

On the other flank, the Royalist horse were held off by a wall of pikes.

Parliament also held firm on the hill.

The raw troops facing the dragoons had enough, and both broke on the same turn.

Lord Standing tried to order an advance in the centre, but couldn't get his men to move.

The dragoons now moved to compromise the Royalist right, although they were only a theoretical danger at this stage, since they can't move into close combat, or fire into an ongoing one.

Another attempt to advance the Royalist centre failed, and another unit of Royalist foot broke under fire from the shot on the hill.

On the Parliamentarian right the foot finally broke under continuous attack from the Royalist horse ...

... but one unit of horse pursued them out of the battle.

The Parliamentarians turned to meet the threat to their flank.

Dragoons moved up in support. The Royalist horse fled under heavy fire.

This just left a lone Royalist pike and shot unit fighting to take the hill in the centre.

The result was inevitable; it routed, and the day was lost for the Royalists.

With this victory, Causton declares for Parliament, who now become the defenders for the rest of the campaign. The campaign moves into Phase 2, and Lord Standing tries to gather support for an attack on the town.

The Royalists were certainly the underdog in this fight, with a serious difference in quality between the two armies. Their advantage in horse couldn't swing things their way either. To be honest I made a mistake in their plan; really the raw foot should have covered the Royalist centre, leaving the better-quality pike-heavy foot to drive off the dragoons on the flank. Yes, the raw foot would have suffered in the firefight in the centre, but the odds were very much in favour of Parliament's foot running low on ammunition, forcing their commander to intervene or requiring them to advance off the hill. Placing or replacing out of ammunition markers is key to managing foot in these rules, and the Royalist commander consistently botched the rolls to do so. In addition, Parliament seemed well-supplied with ammunition, and none of their units ran out at any stage, which is pretty remarkable, all things considered.

6x6 - Game 2.3
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