Showing posts with label napoleonics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label napoleonics. Show all posts

Friday, 14 September 2018

Black Powder 123

We had an evening of Black Powder Napoleonics yesterday, playing the simple six-unit 123 scenarios our group enjoys. The aim was to play a couple of games during the evening, but really I was only up for just one game - I'm still shattered from our long, long weekend away.

Caesar and I played a scenario which concerned controlling a house in the centre of the board. Our forces were nominally French (Caesar) and Russian (me), but the troop stats were identical and fairly generic. Oddly enough, however, the units seemed to mostly perform according to the figures used to depict them, which was lucky.

Caesar made the opening moves, and quickly seized the house.

I didn't mess around, and threw my three infantry units at the objective. Caesar was covering his occupying force with a second infantry unit, but they were forced into square by my lurking cavalry.

I attacked Caesar's square, hoping to remove the garrison's only current support before the main attack. Amazingly, and frustratingly, the square held on for turn after turn. However Caesar failed command rolls in order to bring up the rest of his troops, leaving his garrison isolated.

I attacked the house, making use of my unengaged units to provide as much support as possible. The French garrison found itself in a desperate, losing struggle.

Caesar finally got his cavalry into action, driving off the Russian supports, but then falling back from some infantry behind them.

Caesar's infantry square finally broke, allowing all of my infantry to assault the house. This saw the end of the French garrison as well.

Caesar now only had one unit left capable of assaulting the house, and there was a Russian line between it and the garrison. With time running out (there's a turn-limit) he conceded.

Caesar failed to get enough units around the garrison to prevent the Russians from massing their forces against it. The units that were there, and which bore the brunt of the attack, were the same ones he would have had to use to retake the objective, so when that 'opportunity' presented itself they were no longer present.

Thanks to Ralph for organising the evening and to Bryan for adjudicating our game. It's a while since I've played Black Powder, but a surprising amount of it came back to me as I played.

Friday, 22 June 2018


On a cold winter's night there's nothing better than a couple of games of HOTT. So it's a good job I had a couple last night. I played Geoff, and he used my boring  bog-standard High Elves. I used The Spawn of Tiamat.

Here's the first game. I defended and did a weighted attack on Geoff's left.

It was a fairly quick game. Geoff's line of shooters and spears was a tough nut to crack, but a couple of lucky combats destroyed his archers, and then a second charge by the various elements I had classified as knights destroyed his spear general to win the game.

Geoff defended in the second game, and chose to run his mounted as riders rather than knights. I attacked his left again, and despite their position on the hill got an advantage over the Elven cavalry.

Meanwhile my chaotic beasts worked their way around his other flank, hiding in the woods to avoid the accurate Elven archery.

Unfortunately from that point onwards it all fell apart. Geoff had his Elf Prince hero in reserve, and took out my hero (Tiamat's consort, Qingu), before destroying my right flank.

His spear-line pushed forward, engaging Tiamat herself.

My beasts put up a valiant fight on my left, and Tiamat managed to ensorcell the enemy hero as well. Both armies were hovering on the verge of breaking, when Geoff lined up a fantastic set of combats and destroyed 7AP of my army in one turn, including Tiamat herself. With an undeployed dragon in my army, the 18AP I lost meant I had a single beast on the board. I think this is possibly the largest defeat I've eve had in a game of HOTT, although the 18-10 scoreline testified to a bloody game.

So, one game each. Not a bad evening.

Meanwhile others were playing Black Powder in 15mm, in preparation for a Waterloo game on Sunday.

And Gary and Caesar played Maurice -- Austrians and Ottomans.

Gary was trying out an experimental activation mechanism, using sub-commanders, which allowed multiple groups to activate during a turn. It looks like it was mostly successful, although the size of the game meant that they didn't finish the battle by the end of the evening.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Black Powder 3-2-1

Caesar got two games on Thursday evening. As well as the Maipo refight, he played Black Powder with Ralph, whilst I watched and took pictures.

This was a Black Powder 3-2-1 game, where both players have six units with fairly generic Napoleonic capabilities - three infantry, two cavalry and one artillery (hence 3-2-1) - on a small table with a simple objective. In this case it was to hold the walled enclosure in the centre of the table at the end of six turns. The enclosure could only be entered by infantry.

Here, Ralph explains to Caesar that, because he's using French, he will win very easily, n'est pas?

So, anyway, I flitted around taking pictures. I've just done a basic photography course, so I'm now trying to use my camera with all of the settings on manual. Please excuse any dubious pictures that resulted because of this.

To be honest I hadn't planned to write a blow-by-blow account of the action. It was Black Powder. Units whizzed around all over the place (well, the cavalry did). It was a wild adventure. But, basically, Caesar got some troops into the enclosure, who held it for most of the game whilst everything else went pear-shaped around them. They were routed out by artillery fire on the penultimate turn, but he managed to get one of his surviving infantry units into the enclosure to replace them, and Ralph completely failed to mount a last turn attack to oust them

So, simply enjoy these photos of two Black Powder players at the top of their game, and some beautiful 25mm figures.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Blucher At Waterloo - Again

Last year we did a big all-day refight of Waterloo using Blucher. This year we did it again. We had our usual room at the University as well, so got the plus of familiar surroundings, whilst losing the sea-view.

After the game last year there was a lot of discussion about how it could be improved, and these changes were applied to the game we played. Firstly we made the table narrower so troops got into action more quickly and so that the Allied strongpoints weren't so far from their main line that their defence was futile. Secondly we removed the separate Plancenoit table we'd used last year. To adjust for this we also ditched one French and one Prussian corps, and had their activities off-table and outside the scope of the game.

Here's the table set up ready for the battle. In the foreground is Hougoumont, beyond it La Haye Sainte and in the far distance the settlements of Papalotte and Frischermont. All of these were held by the Allies, but worth victory points to the French; 2VP each for the first two and 1VP each for the latter two. There were also 2VP up for grabs for hlding the crossroads on the Allied ridge. As you can see, there were 8VP on the table, and the Allies held them all at the start. Victory would go to the side that held a majority at nightfall. An army could also win by breaking the enemy army.

The French.

The Allies.

The Prussians.

The players. We all seemed to have decided that blue was the colour of the day.

Take a moment to marvel at Caesar's Blucher movement measuring device, converted from some scrap sprue. I won't give the training course that we had.

Here's the initial setup around Hougoumont, before the units were revealed. At this stage the game looks like the opening credits of Dad's Army.

A view along the ridge. Daniel was commanding Rielle's troops, tasked with taking Hougoumont.

D'Erlon's Corps advanced to take Papelotte and Frichermont.

The advance on Hougoumont.

The Allies revealed.

Caesar alternated between commanding D'Erlon's Corp, and keeping us on the straight and narrow with his knowledge of the rules.

An early combat - Allied light cavalry attacked some advancing French infantry.

Another view along the ridge, with more figures on the table.

The attack against Papelotte and Frichermont developed slowly. Time was of the essence, though, because the Prussians would be turning up soon.

On the other flank Rielle was engaging the Allies along the line, whilst trying to take Hougoumont.

To the right of them, the Guard were advancing on La Haye Sainte. We reasoned we could secure a win by taking and holding all of the objectives in front of the ridge, leaving the Allies with the crossroads.

The fighting intensified around Papelotte. The cards on the table are the French cavalry, which had been assigned from the reserve to this flank in order to counter any sneaky Prussian moves.

Meanwhile, in the centre, the Guard advanced on La Haye Sainte.

The Prussians arrived!

They were quickly revealed. The French cavalry charged in, to stop them attacking the two settlements, one of which was now in French hands.

On the other flank the French were taking heavy casualties, but managed to take Hougoumont. All they now had to do was hold it until nightfall. Despite massive casualties, they did so.

The latter part of the battle, with all of the figures on the table, and fierce fighting around all of the key objectives. By this stage the French controlled everything but the crossroads, but were going to have to fight to hold their win.

The Allied cavalry appeared to try and win the day for Wellington in the centre.

With only a couple of turns left, the Prussians took Papelotte.

The Prussians were putting D'Erlon's troops under a great deal of pressure, whilst the French cavalry did what it could to help. Which wasn't much. Incidentally, I was running the French cavalry.

Fighting was fierce around La Haye Sainte, but the French held the objective.

The Prussians captured Frichermont as well. The game was now tied. Caesar tried to retake Papelotte, but failed. There was one French turn left.

Enter Napoleon ...

Napoleon is fairly inactive in this scenario, and could only use his leadership ability every three turns. But we'd saved him up, and used him at the end to order a series of attacks on the two Prussian-held objectives. Any attack ordered by Napoleon in this way gets a bonus, and it was used to great effect. The Prussians were thrown out of both objectives by the French, giving us a 6-2 victory as night fell.

Vive L'Empereur!

The scenario worked really well, and we played it to a conclusion well within the day at a fairly relaxed pace, which just goes to show the strength of Blucher for gaming battles of this size. We tried a method of speeding up the allocation of MO, where each side only got a single D6 worth of points (rolled secretly by the other side), but with each command (player) being able to make their moves using the whole score. It seemed like we wouldn't have enough to do anything, but in fact with careful planning of moves all players generally got to do a decent move each turn, and keep the battle moving.

Thanks to Ralph for organising the scenario, and various others - Gary, Ralph and Caesar - for providing figures and terrain.

Update: Ralph's report includes more photos, more information on what was happening in the centre and around Hougoumont, and information on the actual setup of the game and the commands.
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