Monday, January 1, 2018


I was able to get a number of games in the last few days to bid farewell to 2017 and to usher in 2018. 
On Friday afternoon of course, I played the Hubbardton 1777 game with Ken and Alex using the "Fife & Drum" one page AWI rules.  Saturday afternoon and evening, Dave and I played Alex's excellent and exciting "Fast Play Medieval Rules" which were an outstanding "hack and slash" mass battle game based on Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames.  On Sunday I played 2 x back to back games of Alex's UP THE BLUE fast play World War II rules using the same scenario #14 (twin objectives) with Alex and Ken.

The Medieval game scenario followed:

“The Battle of Orewin Bridge (also known as the Battle of Irfon Bridge) was fought between English (led by the Marcher Lords) and Welsh armies on 11 December 1282 near Builth Wells in mid-Wales. It was a decisive defeat for the Welsh because their leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd was killed, and this effectively ended the independence of Wales.”

We used the "Unfortunate Oversight" scenario from the One Hour Wargames book, and Alex's beautifully painted 28mm Medievals.  Dave, who played the Welsh, stacked up the defense behind the town on the north bank of the river.  

Not wishing to hack my way through built up terrain on the other side of a bridge, I decided to place my weight on the right.  In fact, I placed ALL my forces on the right!  Leading off with my mounted knights, my goal is to move towards the hill straight away. 

Felt marks the ford.  I have 2 units of infantry, 1 unit of longbowmen, 1 unit of crossbows, and 2 units of knights.
 The plan starts out brilliantly as my knights charge across the ford and deploy, heading straight for the hill.

knights deployed on the north bank of the river.  

My infantry assembling to cross the river.  They are next in line to head north.

Dave sends his mounted knights against mine on the plain.

My longbowmen on the left are fearsome and rain death down on the knights.

My other knights peel off to capture, or at least sit on, the hill.

Next thing you know I've got the entire Welsh Army all about!
 In a nice harrassing move, Dave sends his "brigands" across the river to harass my flank.  My Crossbowmen are assailing his infantry in the center.

 I try to move my infantry across the river ford.  they'll need enough movement to get there.  They roll a "1" and cannot move.  So my infantry are stuck this turn...

Knights are suffering from constant contact.  The yellow "6" means trouble for them.

Infantry still stuck at the ford.
 My infantry fail to cross no less than 5 times.  I even used the priest to extoll the men to cross the river, but to no avail.  He only gets a "2" on the reroll.  Dave makes mincemeat of my mounted troops across the river.  By the time my infantry cross (6 turns later) the Welsh are waiting for them.
A common sight on this battlefield.  Infantry sitting still....

The final apocalyptic battle....

This follows my Ponyri Station narrative on the northern pincer at Kursk, 1943 and sees the German 508th Infanterie Regiment attempting to enter the town of Ponyri with fierce Soviet resistance.  We played with more than the normal amount of units, with the Germans amassing 10 units and the Soviets 9 on-table with a heavy artillery unit off table in support.

German forces arrayed for battle.  1 x StugIII platoon, 1 x Panzer IV platoon, 1 x Ferdinand platoon, 4 x regular infantry platoons, 1 x assault pioniere platoon, 1 x mortar platoon, 1 x ATG platoon.

Ken's massed forces on the hilltop

I make a dash for both the hill and the town.  

Ferdinands lumber along at D6+2, the same speed as the infantry.

Ouch!  Heavy artillery plasters this infantry platoon as they move forward.  Permanent yellow die and 4 hits!

Ken places his troops deeper into the Ponyri terrain and places the komissar team (reroll a rally) behind the lead platoon.

AT guns and troops 

My assault engineers are wiped out by mortars and artillery but I reach the town with 2 infantry platoons relatively intact.  

My troops find good cover at the edge of the town 

Armor changes course and speeds off towards the town.

Now 3 platoons are embroiled with the Soviets for control of the town.

Things start to go quiet over on the Soviet left.

Things are a mess here but we're holding!

Germans continue the push into Ponyri with massive casualties!
 One platoon gets wiped out and another enters the town as Ken pulls back a platoon beyond the 4" to rally.  It's a great idea.  They're now in reserve as my landsers move in and get a toe hold on the town.  Heavy fighting on the western flank as well as another infantry platoon tries to claw their way in.

Holding fast in the northern portion of Ponryi the lead german elements will dig in soon.

Ferdinands come up to offer their support.

small scrap in the woods as I try to threaten Ken's infantry

Scratch 1 Soviet platoon as the Germans enter Ponyri from the west also.  The toe hold is secure for now.  But can they capture the town in time???

Trying to over run the Soviet AT gun platoon!

Finally the AT gun platoon has had it.  Ken still has an infantry platoon he can use to reinforce the town.  So even if I kill the last remaining platoon in the village, there's no way I can claim sole owner over "little Stalingrad".  We call the game on turn 13.  Soviet victory!

All that cleared space!
Ken had to leave so Alex and I played the entire game over.  I switched sides and played the Soviets and played very similarly to Ken, but with much less emphasis on the Hill.  I flooded the town with infantry, and also kept an armored reserve to react, but also to counterattack to the west of Ponyri itself.  Alex threw in his weight against Ponyri and we ended up calling the game around turn 13 or 14 when it became apparent that his forces again did not have the time to overrun the Soviets and force them out of the town.

Alex is working on rules for assaulting infantry and I think close assaulting a fixed, dug in position is really tough in his UP THE BLUE rules.  So far the rules really have shined in terms of encouraging combined arms operations, softening or suppressing an objective, and protecting infantry until they're ready to be used on the objective.

The Germans probably needed extra firepower in the form of heavy artillery to reduce the objective and soften the defenders prior to "going in" as historically they had plentiful fire support at Ponryi from small mortars up to the dreaded nebelwerfers.  So this might be a distinct possibility moving forward.  Alex is of the opinion that it's a scenario design issue rather than a rules issue, and I tend to agree with him.

Happy New Year to all!  May you roll 6's this year (or at least get your infantry over the fords).


  1. Forsooth, the Marcher Lord doth speak truth!
    I was there, and saw the rolling...a simple scenario design rule intended to add "a little friction" and a difference between the road and the ford becomes an overwhelming factor in the game.

    NT doesn't differentiate between the two in his rules - whether you cross by road / bridge or by ford, the terrain just counts as open. I decided to make it so that a unit had to roll their move high enough to completely clear the ford with the back of the base - this requires a 5.5" total move, or rolling a 3+ on the move dice, so you should clear an infantry unit 2 out of 3 tries. Mounted could easily get across on any roll.

    The amazing thing is that Steve almost won anyway, it just came down to the last couple of turns of dice rolling. Had Dave missed a couple of hits, and Steve made a couple of Hits, the English would've won!

    Wiki says this:
    "On 11 December, Llywelyn's army occupied a hillside north of the Irfon River near the village of Cilmeri, placed to repel any attack from the south across Orewin Bridge. The army is thought to have consisted of a few thousand spearmen and javelinmen from North Wales, with some men-at-arms from Llywelyn's own teulu (household), and some local archers from Brecon (who had betrayed their former English allies and joined Llywelyn, having been disappointed in the English failure at the Battle of Llandeilo Fawr). Altogether, the army is thought to have added up to around 7000 infantry and 160 Cavalry (Llywelyn's Teulu). Llywelyn himself was not present, having gone to speak with local leaders (possibly at Builth Castle).

    A local inhabitant had told the Marchers about a ford across the Irfon two miles downstream, near its confluence with the River Wye, and they sent most of their archers across it to attack the Welsh in the flank. The Welsh army turned to face them, and the English mounted men-at-arms charged across the now undefended bridge.

    Meanwhile, the English archers shot into the Welsh spear schiltrons, weakening and disorganising the troops. The English heavy cavalry then charged the rear of the army. The leaderless and demoralised Welsh were routed.

    As the Welsh army fled, Llywelyn returned in haste. On the outskirts of the fighting, he was attacked and cut down by an English man-at-arms named Stephen de Frankton, an English centenar from Ellesmere, Shropshire."

    Our story is this:
    "The Welsh strongly held the town so the Marcher Lords decided to use a ford revealed to them by a local sympathizer. The Lords quickly cross the ford, supported by their archers on the other side. But the depth and speed of the water made it much more difficult for the English freemen to cross, and they were held up for much time until ropes and guides were place to assist the foot.

    Meanwhile, the Welsh army repositioned itself and came at the English Knights full force. Altho the Marcher Lords defeated the Welsh Teulu, they were subsequently overwhelmed by numbers despite the support of their archers across the river.

    By the time the foot made it across, the issue was completely in doubt. Yet, the fierce hearts of the Welsh defending their Lord's honor withstood the English mercenaries and freemen, and they were forced back against the ford where many were slain in the ensuing rout!"

    At the end of the day, it was fun, it was a close game, and it makes for a great and realistic narrative.

    1. THings started out so well, too with the mounted charge. It was still a great game and really makes me want to finish painting my ancient Romans and Gauls! (as well as my Orc and Empire troops!)

      Your modifications to the 1HW Medievals are some of the best I've played from the period. Hand and foot better than a game like Armati or DBA which have excitement and fun in their own right, but don't have that miniatures feel to them.

      I think your modifications to the 1HW system has breathed new life into those family of rules for me, which I had originally written off as too simplistic. They are now challenging, engaging, and much more fun.

  2. Steve,

    Medieval knights??? What sort of heresy is this??? I liked your AWI fight, but trying to ignore it as AWI in 10mm is something I've always wanted to do and I don't need any more distractions. I've really been enjoying your Kursk fights, looking forward to more.


    1. Jack,
      I hear ya but it was just too much "hack and slash" fun to ignore. Plus ive been shopping around for a good fantasy mass -battle rules set so this appealed to me.

      If youre looking to resist the AWI bug youd better skip some of my upcoming posts! This year will have a heavy AWI focus! But mostly in 15mm.

    2. Steve,

      Hey, I understand, can't say no to a game ready to go. And while Medievals per say are not my thing, I'd love to do some massed Lord of the Rings-type stuff. And yeah, gotta resist the AWI; maybe next year. You're gonna dig my big project for this year! ;)


    3. Amen Jack. My thoughts exactly. Hey is your big project this year the 15mm brits and krauts youre showing at the blog?

    4. Negative, it’s something totally new, haven’t received most of the minis for the new project yet, this 15mm WWII project is just an ongoing deal.

      If you’re truly mystified, I just put out a slew of posts on New Year’s Day, and there’s a clue in one of them ;)


  3. Happy New Year.. really want to try those 1HW WWII modified rules...!

    1. Hi Steve and Happy New Year. I like what Alex has done with the 1HW rules. they are great fun.

  4. Replies
    1. Hey Brandon! I'd check with Alex (ECW40mmProject guy above) and see if he has any issue with you reading and/or playtesting the rules?

      Being a published wargame designer in your own right, I can't imagine he'd take issue with it! Happy to send you his email address via PM.