Sunday, October 09, 2016

Squad Leader at Library

The Guards Counter Attack

October 1942, Stalingrad

all ready for playing scenario #1
The Library needed us to shift time from 12 noon start to a 10 am start, and finish at 2 pm, rather than the usual 4:30 pm.

Because of this I decided to go with the faster set-up and take down: Squad Leader.

There were the inevitable delays in getting the room started, the role-players were needing some early support time and they have now split into two RPG groups (yes there were 15 people there this time).

I was able to bring in one player (when they were TKO during the RPG).

The Soviet Guards did manage do disrupt one of the German held buildings

by the end of turn 1, though the Germans had broken up the first attempt at that one building - and - managed to disrupt Soviet troops in a building on the right (other) flank

My active player needed to return to his Role-Play and I continued the scenario in  solo play mode.

storming the building a close combat resulted

all 31 men were dead at the end of the combat ... only an LMG was left behind on the board
It has been some time since I played to a near stand-still on both sides.

The Soviet Guards, just could not break out from the first building they captured and the Germans did not take one stone building (they came close) from the Soviets.  So not quite a draw and certainly not a Soviet victory ... the attrition battle in the streets of Stalingrad continues ...

end of turn 5, the Soviet Guards were mostly in broken condition and a squad of Germans were just outside of a former Soviet held building

Given the limited response to Squad Leader, I shall bring out the more colorful miniatures in the future to the Library game day.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Victory Without Quarter - Stagonia v. Alpia at Library table

The forces of Alpia and Stagonia once again come to clash of arms.

The colorful armies are deployed

Knights were in the center for Alpia

Horse was massed on the Stagonian left

Stagonian foot were the right wing

while Alpia had foot on their right and a mix of horse and foot on the left

Bluebear Jeff's wonderful 15th century collection took to the table, with five active players to command them.

by the third deck we had actually had a turn where ALL units got to move

blades men were sent up the road

while Alpian crossbowmen stormed into the fields

Stagonia used a more measured deployment

Horse were facing foot on each flank

The colorful flags of Stagonian foot

Stagonian General and staff with messenger

Alpian General and messenger staff

The use of the cards makes the 'length' of a turn hard to accept for those who have played simulations, while for those new to the game table find that having a clear direction of who is moving and what they can do makes for a simple 'game'.  Hence using this mechanism at the library with four essentially 'new' players they were able to keep on top of the game.

after 7 decks (turns) we had done two full decks of movement

The Alpian forces were leading at this point, yet not enough to call a victory

Alpian horse was finally going into action

Sadly the Alpian knights had such new mounts that the sound of the cannon sent them into a skittish randomness, that was to doom the knights in the end ...

At the end of turn 9, one Stagonian General had totally lost his command, here he is seen desperately trying to rally the last stand of pike ...

The Stagonian left had collapsed by turn 10, sensing a chance at total victory the Alpians rushed forward ... only to fall apart in morale as they made charge attempt after charge attempt and failed over and over ...

short of powder this group of Stagonian foot held against repeated Alpian attack

Alpian horse, though not much damaged, flee from the battle

Stagonian potential shifted, now they send in their horse

The Stagonian horse threatened to overrun the Alpian command

while Stagonia came close to snatching a victory, the final score was 1 stand (not a unit a single stand) in favor of an Alpain win.


the first battle at the Library tabletop.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Alpian Wars returns - Victory Without Quarter battle at the library

Victory Without Quarter battle in Alpia returns
This 24th of September the Victory Without Quarter rules will be brought out and Bluebear Jeff's Alpian Wars with Alpia and Vile Stagonia will be on the table at the Campbell River branch of the Vancouver Island Library.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Seven Active Players

The Campaign of the Hundred Days has begun.

There are seven active players taking on the roles of Bonaparte, Wellington, Blucher and their Generals and Marshals.

I have added a new link on the side bar here to help others find the new blog that will be a support for the coming actions.

Beyond the active players are three others with table-top miniatures to support many different battlefields.  This makes for 11 participants on three continents across 18 time zones.

Expect more After Action Reports of the battles here on Murdock'S MarauderS.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hundred Days, heating up ...

Having worked out the details a few more times, I am now able to put out this last call for prospective players in a Campaign of the Hundred Days or Waterloo Campaign.

Even if all you have to take part in the game is an email address and a computer capable of running the Cyberboard software, then please do contact me below.

If you have some French and 'other' opponent troops, best would be Anglo-Dutch and Prussian of course, yet even if all you have are Russians to take on the French and a table-top crew to game out the battle then please do contact me below.

I am planning to use similar systems and methods as I did with the Campaign of Nations game, run from 2013-2015.

To summarize, I am recruiting at least three 'Commanders' to take on the Napoleon, Wellington and Blucher roles, then I would also like to have a 'deputy' for each one also that could generate the kind of movements and 'alternate' history that makes for a more fun experience.  Yes this means I would like to have 6 players.  Even better would be 7 players, 3 for the French, 2 each for the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian Armies.

I know that I have been musing about doing this for many months now, and given that the big ceremonies of the 200th anniversary are over now, we could get on with a re-set of a different proportion.

If this interests you please do contact me or comment below.

Monday, July 04, 2016

ECW Montgomery REDUX using Pike & Shotte

my own Parliamentary command stand
Once again at Jeff's table we were off to Wales and the Battle of Montgomery.

This time using Pike & Shotte rules, which Rob was the adjudicator for.

A couple of errors in rule interpretations were picked up by the end of the action, though we kept with the 'same' ruling all thorough the game once the errors were spotted.

The big difference this time from the last game was the arrival location of the flank force of cavalry.

East rather than West and this makes for a totally different encounter.

It might be interesting to play this out without ANYONE KNOWING where, when or even IF the Parliamentary Horse will be returning ...

The layout of troops was very much the same as before, now though my eldest son was taking command of Parliament Horse, facing off Jeff as the Royalist Horse.

view from north-west corner of field, Parliament has the long blue line on the left; Royalists have the ridge on the right

Rob's Royalist Pike

Jeff's Royalist horse

2 of the 3 Parliamentary Commanders

Parliament line, looking from the east edge

Parliament line looking from the west edge

Parliament center

Royalist foot
The difference this time round also was that the Royalists had the task to "Take the Bridge" that was behind the Parliament right flank.

into action fast on the 'horse flank'

this time the Royalist foot felt confident enough to advance

the Dragoons got to burst out into the open in a dash to the swampy ground near the bridge ...

the book was consulted many times over the course of the night ... this time about the "Magical Dragoon powers of fire and evade"
The Dragoons in this set of rules are given some amazing AD&D monk-like powers.  They were caught in the open by a mass of charging horse, while the dragoons were scattered in 'open order' having failed to get the 2x move they needed to get into the cover of the swampy ground.  The horse that charged them got a 3x move order and covered over the open ground between them and had enough movement to completely over-run the entire formation (even in the distributed open order).

The rules allow for the Dragoons only to fire and evade, on a die roll.  The attacking force gets no influence in this, if the dragoons are in open order or close ranks it makes no difference.

All I can say is that this must be some assumption on the part of the writers that the Dragoon horse holders are always near at hand and that they can dash off as they please, AND while doing this running away somehow ALSO inflict enough damage on a charging HORSE opponent to stop them in their charge AND disorder and injure them.

I am pointing all this out as I do not recall ANY accounts of Dragoons caught IN THE OPEN ever managing such a feat; which by the way this unit of Dragoons got to do twice.  If there are Pike & Shotte fans that can explain this mystical Dragoon ability as anything other than the writers fancy - I implore them to explain why this has such a massive power to stop a charge that ought to run them down like grass.

battle continued, no Parliament Horse reinforcement yet

the super Dragoons had fallen back and now were shooting up my horse

view across the lines

Royalist shotte started the duel

Jeff can be seen behind the Royalist lines in his neck brace

while #1 son was goofing off trying to hide from the camera ... only to get his face in the shot

Parliament moved second each turn so we started out with 'counter-fire' that was more effective due to failed saving throws
start of turn 4, the Royalists are holding ground

the Horse tangle-brawl continues

All of the Royalist Foote in one image

the 'chicken-dancer' (on the left of the unit) denotes 'disorder' in the ranks

1/4 of the Royalist foote was still on the hilltop

Horse units were now all disrupted and shaken

on both sides

The Royalists kept a horse reserve ... watching for the flank arrival
by turn 7 the Dragoons had now cartwheeled away from the horse and were safely ensconced behind a hedgerow ... and the Parliament Horse reinforcement had not yet arrived

while Royalist foote was busy shooting into the flank and rear of a horse unit, gaining no apparent advantage?

Horse could just slip away sideways within these rules ... odd movement ability for such troops that did not do such parade ground drills, ever

now the Royalists had stuck out one foote formation to 'protect' the horse ... this made it a great target for shooting though

other shots along the Royalists lines were busy

including the super-Dragoons that now were shooting with impunity at the horse; thankfully they appeared to be very poor shots

Rob's foot units looking regal

at LONG last, the Parliament horse foraging parties arrived

though the Royalist horse were ready for them
The next odd thing that came up was a series of shots from Royalists into the flank and rear of a horse unit.  No apparent difference where you were shooting at a unit in this game.

now the horse battle turned out against the Parliament and there was a Royalist foote battalia that fled the field due to fire

both sides in the Horse engagement were tired, it was the Royalist horse that came out ascendant

though Fairfax was able to escape the carnage, his horse troops were scatterd

indeed a counter-charge was what sent off the arriving troops ... too little too late to make any difference in the outcome on the field

an overview of the horse flank

the entire Parliament line was now firing at the same target
a HUGE hole had developed in the Royalist center
Then the final oddity for Pike & Shotte showed up.

Apparently flanks do not matter.

any unit attacked in the flank may simply 'turn to face the flank'; unless they are blocked (though how this blocking happens is not clear), then again there is no apparent advantage to attacking in hand-to-hand into the flank or rear of any unit (unless there are 2 or more units doing that attack at the same time).

for two moves the Royalist horse tried to go into 'flank refused' on an end unit to stop the painful flank attack; twice they failed to make the order.

then came the Parliament attack and a full speed charge came in, buuuuut since any unit can always turn to face the flank, it pretty much means nothing.  Thus was a Parliament horse unit lost in what ought to have been a SWEEP of the Royalist horse in the flank of three consecutive units.

could be we are missing something in the rules, as the gravest error any commander made was to loose his flank and be overrun because of it; while the rules appear to allow 360 degree defensive perfection ...

Parliament foote move into the gap in the center of the Royalist lines

more withering fire exchanged

holding on just barely were the Parliament right flank horse

while the whole line of Parliament troops blasted away at the Royalist positions

by mid turn, another charge moment had come ... this time with the foote

Royalist commander Lawley was rallying the line when they were overrun by the Parliament foote

Brereton's regiment delivered the final blow by totally disrupting the Royalist foote in a hand-to-hand battle

while the remaining foote shot away at the other Royalists on the hilltop, after the fire they could not rally and broke away from the battlefield.
By the end of turn 10 there were five Royalist units left from a starting number of 12, so more than 50% casualties.

While the Parliament lost 6 horse units in total.

I'm curious about the logic of the Dragoons and the free 'turn to face' rules in Pike & Shotte, though given this showing so far I'm not inclined to seek out my own copy.