Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day Prussians, Bavarians, Russian SMGs & Some News...

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there (today is father's day in the US).  Ken and I left our Blucher game up hopefully for next week so no small solo games this week. Also no BLucher this weekend as I have a large family engagement today and have no time for gaming.  I was able to get some light painting done over the last 2 mornings in between helping out around the house as my wife broke her foot this past week, effectively leaving me in charge of basically anything in the house - doctor's orders!

1/2 of the next Prussian Infantry Regiment.  Pretty generic.  Blue Coats Red Cuffs and Facings. I haven't figured out which unit they belong to yet...

Bavarian Madness continues!  These are actually 10mm Old Glory Austrians that I thought would be suitable Bavarians in 10mm.  Respectable I think.

In case you ever wanted to know what 15/18mm Eureka Bavarians look like next to 10mm Old Glory...
 And to finish some other things on my workbench, how about a squad or 2 of Soviet SMG troops?  Different painting style here.

Coming up?  Taking a fresh look at Charles Grant's "The Wargame" scaled down or bigger battles (12 figure Regiments/Battalions).  Also looking at Bolt Action as July's game with Dave down in Virginia will be here before you know it!  Im also thinking of bringing Mr Neil Thomas' ONE HOUR WARGAMES down with me and some horse and musket troops since we'll have some time for some quick games.

Anyways that's all for now.  Hopefully next time I post, there'll be a finished Bavarian Battalion and some SYW Prussians done as well!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Along the Danube with BLUCHER

Ken and I played the introductory scenario "Along the Danube" from Sam Mustafa's "Blucher" this afternoon and I snapped a few pictures of the action (cards for units this time around but hoping to rectify that with Blucher sabots in the near project perhaps?)

Right off the bat I will tell you Blucher delivers on its promises - you are the General and commander of the Army.  That is you command multiple Corps and you make "operational level" decisions - a huge selling point for me when looking at Grand Tactical set of rules.

Your success hinges on the success of your Brigades in the close fight, and you must have a plan (and a reserve) to fight.  The enemy gets a vote, too, and Blucher hones a "neat" system for making sure you can't do all the things you want to do in a turn.  In fact, it's probably the best system I've yet come across for enforcing limitations of your headquarters on you.  This is accomplished through the use of "momentum" where at the end of your turn you roll.  The resulting roll equates roughly to the number of units your opponent can activate.  The best part is, your opponent doesn't know what his momentum number will be from turn to turn as that is managed by the opposing player!

As Ken pointed out, it's nice because there are "quiet" portions of the battlefield where nothing is happening, more than likely until the Momentum allows you to activate them.  Players will find themselves concentrating on a pivotal Corps or grouping that is important to their plan.

Ken playing the Austrians - yours truly (moi?) playing the French.
 Ken already had the Blucher cards printed out and I left my Gneisenau staff QRS somewhere else!

Ken's laminated unit cards.  Very nice and using wet erase markers to track unit status
 Luck started off on my side with my first artillery bombardment scoring 3 sixes!  Wohoo!  Lady luck departed my side of the table after that and my attacks were not to be as successful!

Brigades of the I Corps moving into position to attempt to breakthrough in the vicinity of the Austrian left flank.

Ken schooled me with close combat - always better to attack with 2 units than one!
 Blucher, which I though was very similar to Volley and Bayonet (VB) goes VB one further and really combines the combat power of the unit with the "exhaustion" concept from VB.  So your "Elan" in Blucher comes off as you engage in battle to battle and you lose more if you lose combats.  My firing dice or melee dice are tied to that Elan number, so as it goes down, my unit capabilities go down with it.  A brilliant and elegant concept.

Ken's Austrian Brigades coming up to parry the French thrusts at their flank.
 Planning and positioning your units is extremely important in this game.  You must be ready to reinforce success of counter a critical loss by keeping a reserve.  I think the system also lends itself to bold movements and some risk taking.  (always good!  Because that's what makes commanders successful in many cases).

Ken put some of my Bavarians atop a base.  They look good on there so imagine the entire table full of troop atop these bases!

After some combats.

Artillery Battery!
 I mentioned to Ken that I think Blucher got the "feeling" right in that you are making the right decisions for your level of command.

Another gratuitous shot of my Eureka Bavarians!

Thoughts on Blucher
Well I hope you can tell by now that I am a big fan of this game.  If you're looking for big-level games that won't take forever and a day to play and you don't want to have to play Company, Battalion, Brigade, Division AND Corps Commander, then Blucher is most likely for you.  I will go so far as to say it may go Volley and Bayonet "one better" in that it's more streamlined and probably plays faster when you have more experienced players on both sides.  Ken had to talk me through some parts that are a slight departure from most mainstream rules but these are learned after a few turns (we are on turn 9 and I feel I have the basics covered now).

My recommendation to you is that if you want to fight entire battles and make big level decisions, then this game should be part of your collection.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

10mm Quatre Bras Update!

I was able to grind through the next few rounds of Quatre Bras over the last few days.  I say "grind" because this is turning out to be a meat-grinder.  The Dutch, bless their hearts, held their ground valiantly and "did all that was required of them" as his excellency stated in the evening report and were allowed to retreat in good order, although "shaken" through the advancing British lines.

 The French had some initial difficulties in gathering their Brigades to deploy properly and unfortunate result for them was their units went into the attack in piecemeal.  Excellent British volleys stopped some French units cold and "shaken" units (units who have hits equal to their stamina value) cannot charge.

Dutch Brigade is disordered but amazingly they hold on despite being hit by the better part of a Division!

British units slowly deploy behind the Dutch and prepare to take up the line.

French Brigades on the French right move through Gemioncourt and swiftly move up, change into their infamous attack columns and beat the Pas de Charge!

French columns clear Gemioncourt

The French left division screws up their orders and only 1 Brigade moves in against the Dutch!

The French crash into the Dutch again!  How are they holding on???
 Some amazing dice rolling by the Dutch and they are holding on volley after volley from French units!  Finally they reach their shaken point and withdraw.

The Dutch win the combat, but are in no shape to stick around.  The command decide to let them withdraw.

French columns swarm the British defenders on the narrow British line that is emerging.  Note the stalled columns moving up the rear
 Then the British fail all of their command tests and not a single British unit moves!  The stage is set for French columns to sweep in and swarm the front.  Luckily, the French division on the right is the only unit that passes their command test!

The French right-most Division, who finally was able to get moving, pushes a British unit back and the road is open to Brussels!

Trouble brewing for the British!

A British unit pushed back, shaken, but reinforcements are enroute!

More British reinforcements - if they can get them deployed.

The French shake out their line in anticipation of moving forward.
 The French win a melee and change their formation to line in order to support their comrades being moved up by the Corps Commander.

The British have the troops but do they have the space or the time to stop the French?

The French right wing gets ready to exploit last turn's victory.
This has been a choppy game so far as I re-learn the Black Powder rules (actually they are pretty simple but there are a myriad of rules that I seem to have forgotten!) but it's all starting to come back to me!  The French have had a devil of a time moving their units into the attack and for once the Brigade orders aren't much help given the terrain.

The British have good terrain to defend but are having an equally rough time getting their units into position!  Tense action - stay tuned!