Sunday, 14 April 2019

Blücher - Scharnhorst...

Another day another game of Blücher. This time a 300 point Scharnhorst against Ed.

We'd played the Scharnhorst part of the battle last week at lunchtime. The situation had ended with me declaring battle and having one of Ed's corps surrounded. He had the advantage though with Victory points. I had to break him or take the town off him, he just had to survive to win.

Breaking him seemed the easiest choice and this seemed even easier when I found out that the large corps I had surrounded was made up of weak allied Spanish troops. Also it had nearly no defensive terrain at all!

Ed soon realised his mistake in trying to defend with them as I munched through them at a rapid rate with a withering artillery onslaught and French Infantry marching in column. He decided that the only solution would be to retire them as quickly as he could from the field before I destroyed too many. Then with his third column hopefully appearing soon he'd be able to survive.

It wasn't to be though. As the last of the Spanish troops headed off the table one was left behind and was facing an impossible force of French troops. It routed taking him to break-point.

In Blücher though you only lose at the end of your own turn. This meant that if Ed's reinforcements arrived in that turn his break point would increase by three meaning he'd still be safe. He needed a 1 or a 2 on a d6 for this to happen... it didn't and he broke, meaning I won... finally after so many losses recently!

With two or so hours left to play we wondered what to do and decided to carry on as if Ed's reinforcements had arrived. We'd play a What-If-What-If...

His reinforcements arrived and started to fight back. Bringing my dead pile up to a similar size to his own. It was getting too close for him though and he started to pull back in towards the town. I'd re-organised my columns and started to push onto there as well.

The battle continued right up to the wire. Turn 29 came and I'd not quite managed to break his force and he won the game on victory points... though not really as I'd already won it... way back at about turn 12.

I've not got another Blücher game now for over two weeks... How am I going to survive?!

Saturday, 13 April 2019

28mm Napoleonic Russians

As well as the 6mm Napoleonics I've also been working on 28mm Napoleonics. These are for use with Songs of Drums and Shakos.

I played a game using my French against Ed's British riflemen a few weeks ago and since then have been playing Blücher a lot. In the mean time I have managed to get my Russians painted.

The Russians are all metals from Front Rank and are a mixture of musketeers, grenadiers, jeagers and carabiniers. They're in the late war, 1812 onwards, kiwer shako. For size and proportion they fit in just fine with the plastic Perry French infantry.

In the photos there is also a Russian building from Charlie Foxtrot Models. This is lovely MDF building, though lacking in internal detail, which I will be adding. I also have one of their Spanish buildings to finish off and use when next playing Ed at SDS.

I played two games with my son Brendan today. I won the first and he won the second. The key to victory seemed to be getting volley fire groups together, though my carabinier with his rifle (as SDS rules have them have) did manage to get some good kills, I will have to paint up more of those.

We had a great time as usual, quite a change of pace from the Blücher games.

So, back tomorrow with another Blücher against Ed and Monday with a game of SDS against Gerald at COGS.

Someone is attacking the house! Get out there and defend!

Some French formations in the distance.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Blücher - Scharnhorst AAR

I wasn't going to write this one up as it seems all I've been posting recently is Blücher battle reports. However they're always great little stories and I seem to have something new added in each time.

This one was a 300 point game (the first 300 point game I've played) with British with my new Spanish Allied contingent versus French. We'd gone for Wellington and Napoleon for the CinC's and of course it was on the Peninsular map. I played the British against my son, Brendan. It was his second game and he really has the hang of it now. We had a great time!

Some of my new Spanish units

Brendan declared a battle at the start of day three. I looked at it and decided it wasn't that bad a position despite having most of my troops off the board at the start. I would have to hold on and hope my reserves arrived before Brendan's massive French force arrived.

Black lines show the battlefield chosen.

After deployment the true difficulty of my position became apparent. Even with all that difficult terrain slowing his progress this would be tough. He had a lot on the table and a lot more to come...

He started his advance...

But, just as he was starting to get into contact and really cause some problems for me, my reserves, very unexpectedly, arrived on his flank! I charged over to his artillery that had been hammering my defense and destroyed them. Victory looked assured!

But fate was fickle and his reserves arrived on the next turn... Uh-oh that's a LOT of French units!!

With the flank of my reserves suddenly under threat I really had problems as my forces were squeezed and squeezed. I needed my other reserves to arrive... They did, but too late!

In the end Brendan managed to break my force. I'd done quite a bit of damage to him in the process, but not enough. 

Monday, 1 April 2019

Blücher - Another game of Scharnhost

After the last game of Scharnhorst taking a little over 4 hours, I thought it best to split the game I had planned with Gerald up into two stages.

Last Wednesday at COGS we did the prep. Built the armies and columns and played the Scharnhorst part of the battle. This left me with a reasonably good position I thought with more on the table than Gerald, and threatening him with a pincer movement with my reinforcements.

This is how it was at the end of play on Wednesday. The battle inside the black lines with Columns 1, 2, B & C on the table. I was French (blue), Gerald British (red).

We packed the cards into zip-lok bags and met again tonight at the club.

I got in early and started the terrain set-up. Once we'd done the board looked like this..

I'd added an extra crossing and some ploughed fields near the village and Gerald added a wood and some ploughed fields in the middle of the table.

We then deployed, no photo, and found we both needed to break 3 of the opposing units at game start. Gerald also realised that if he could take the village, which would be easy considering my reserves were coming on near it, then he didn't need to keep the town to win. So he decided to move all his troops over to the North-West of the board. I had to break him really so started an attack.

The area to the South-West became a swirling melee of cavalry, and the ploughed fields slowed my advance. I soon had the town as he had left only a sacrificial Portuguese Cavalry unit defending it. The rest of his units managing to escape me.

The reserves took forever to arrive. His arrived at around turn 16 (I think) and mine the next turn. Because I'd taken the town I was able to use reserve moves and soon I was pushing hard onto to the village, but Gerald had quite a defence in place. I needed to break a few more units yet, but I didn't think I had enough time as the turns ticked away...

For the first time the game went the full 30 turns with Gerald winning by one victory point. We both agreed that this was probably one of the most interesting ways to play a wargame we'd ever tried. We'll be doing it again for sure.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Blücher - First attempt at Scharnhorst

Another game of Blücher this afternoon. This time a 200 point game of Scharnhorst. We were playing British (Ed) vs French (me) and chose the Peninsular as the theatre of battle.

Ed won the Intelligence and decided to come on from one of the short edges. At the end of day 1 two of our columns had met in the middle of the battlefield at the town of Estacia.

I had collected a lot of VPs on the way in, so Ed had first choice to declare a battle. He chose not to. I did however choose one as I'd worked out how I could get all my columns onto the table. Ed ended up having one column coming on as reserves, though right into my flank.

The end of Day 2 was like this...

The battle was declared in the area marked in black below...

We then spent quite a while setting up the terrain. This took longer than I had expected. Anyway, it ended up like this...

Ed's other column would be coming over the river at the top of the photo above. Though with a factor of 5 it could be quite a while before we saw it.

With the Morale as it was, Ed would need to kill 5 of my units. I just needed to kill 3 of his. I needed to hit hard and fast before his reinforcements arrived.

I pushed my large II Corps forward along with my Cavalry Corps to assault the troops in front of the village. They were ripe for killing. In the end I found they were very weak. A Horse Artillery unit, Ed's heavily fatigued Portuguese Cavalry which he'd used for Recon and some Heavy Dragoons. Light Infantry had garrisoned the village.

As I advanced they fell back beyond the river, except the Light Infantry which were safe in the village from the cavalry on my right flank.

I had to push across the river to fight his centre troops. Victory looked assured. Those reinforcements better not arrive!

I only needed to rout one more of his units to win!

And then the reinforcements arrived...

Heavy Dragoons slammed into the flanks of my uncommitted VI Corps and Foot Guards started to assault the town. Suddenly his army looked a lot tougher and started to rout my units. Nevertheless I still had the upper hand... there was hope!

But it wasn't to be. A bad MO roll for me and a couple of good ones for Ed followed and my army was in shreds. Victory to Ed's British forces... again!

A wonderful game and it's got us chomping at the bit for more Scharnhorst!

I'll sign off with a couple of photos of my entire French army and commanders. There's still a lot more that I have to paint!

Monday, 11 March 2019

A couple more Blücher Games

So another two Blücher games in the last couple of days.

Yesterday's was against my 12-year-old son and he soon caught on to the rules. His strategy needs a little bit of work but that will come with experience I'm sure. It won't be long before he's giving his dad a thrashing.

For that game I'd done some work to blend the hills in with the cloth. It was better, but I still wasn't too impressed with the cloth. It was ragged at the edges and had to be taped down to top it creasing all over the place.

I prefer boards usually, so in a mad moment I decided that I would make myself some. In the end I bought three 6mm thick MDF boards from B&Q and had them cut them down to 960mm x 480mm. Together these work out to the correct board size for my 60mm wide bases. I covered them with "bitter chocolate" masonry paint from Homebase and then when dry covered with static grass and some fine ground terrain foam.

Tonight they were used for the first time against Gerald. This time we used 200 point armies with Napoleon commanding the French and Wellington the British. Using the special two CinC's actually made the game a lot quicker to play and meant that we got to a conclusion a good 40 minutes earlier than the previous game. Also it was easier to play the sides. I think in conclusion that I'll use these CinC's when teaching the game to new players.

The new boards looked great, though the static grass did come off quite a bit. I've just finished re-covering them and have absolutely saturated them with sprayed on watered-down PVA. Hopefully that will make them more resilient.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Blücher - 3rd game - Still loving it!

So the second game of Blücher in two days and my 3rd game in total. This time against Gerald and using the pick-up game scenario and 200 points.

I was French and on the attack again, Gerald's British lined up along a row of Spanish hills. There was a river on my right flank and I soon realised since there was no bridge across it in my deployment zone and that I'd have to assault on my left flank. So I deployed everything on that side of the river. I also then realised that there was rather a lot of difficult terrain on that flank as well!

Gerald saw what I was up to and deployed his reserves immediately to cut off an attempted cavalry assault on that flank. He then spotted a chance to get on my right flank with a reserve move and brought up a corps there.

My assault on his flank struggled and after a lot of effort he pushed it back. On the other flank his flanking corps marched forwards into a hail of artillery fire and repeated cavalry assaults. He struggled and it faltered. I was safe there.

Meanwhile the rest of my force was pushed back onto the windmill hill by his counter-assaulting army. My attack had turned into a retreat!

As we ran out of time Gerald put one last assault in to break my army. However he committed too much and I managed to get a few kills myself as well!

We had both been pushed over our break-points, but checking the rules only the active player's break point mattered for victory, so I won! Gerald won't make that mistake again.

A wonderful game again. This time getting my new Spanish buildings on the table. The windmill is from Leven Miniatures and the rest are a 3d-printed set from eBay (an absolute bargain).

We have another game booked next week. We're going to use 200 points again and this time use Wellington and Napoleon as our commanders.