Saturday, December 30, 2017

Hubbardton 1777 with "Fife & Drum" Rules

Got together with Ken and Alex yesterday afternoon for some American War for Independence gaming using the Fife & Drum Miniatures AWI Rules (they also have a SYW version as well).  These rules are 1 page in length and consist of a series of charts that the combatants must use all conveniently located on the same page.  I thought they delivered a good and quick game but they were not without their questions.

You can download the Fife & Drum rules here [click]

We used Ken's excellent 28mm AWI troops on his table.  It was definitely a treat to game with such nicely painted and great looking figures!  We played the Battle of Hubbardton [click], with about 8 units total on the whole field, we felt this would be a nice, short, introductory game to these rules.

The movement is generous and I was able to close with the enemy in about 3 to 4 moves.  The Continentals (11th Massachusetts, 2nd New Hampshire, and the Green Mountain Boys) are on high ground and are enjoying the benefits of a low stone wall.  My British are crack troops and a battalion of regulars (Combined Grenadiers, Lights, and the 24th Foot).  Ebeneezer Francis and Seth Warner command the American side, while Brigadier General Simon Frazer and Major Acland command the British).

British troops emerging from the woods shake out into line to attack the Americans!

The American positions are clearly visible atop "monument hill".  Hessians arrive at turn 4.

The 24th will advance!

BG Fraser

Green Mountain Boys on the far right, anchored next to the forest.

 I try to play as "British" as I possibly can, and advance my troops up to close range, delivering a volley.  I opted to move first, so the Americans can fire first.  My Grenadiers on the right go "shaken" from the combined fire of almost 2 battalions.  My regulars weather the fire pretty well and deliver fire of their own.  Something is wrong though, because the Americans are not just simply melting away!  They're sticking around to fight! 

lights to the rear getting into position
 Alex does the much of the rolling and is rolling very well.  I rolled my characteristic self and BOLO a bunch of critical rolls, but with these rules you get a bunch (read that as 2 to 4 depending on the circumstances) of D10s which is not quite so dramatic as other rule sets.

Hessians move up on turn 4.  Road column!

The Grenadiers rally quickly and assault the fenceline.  They fail to dislodge the continentals and so they will recoil 12 inches.  This game is all about timing things.

The British reform for another assault, which they make the next turn.  They end up causing more casualties, but it's not enough to dislodge the stubborn defenders!

standing their ground

Having another go at the hilltop

While they would force more morale checks and casualties, they would not carry the position.

Timely arrival of the Hessians from road march.  They'll deploy and throw their weight in against the American left.

One more push, lads!  Give me one more push!

So all in all, lots of questions which are to be expected from a single page rules set but very neat, old school feel to it.  Effectiveness of shooting is very much based on the target's condition, and passing morale becomes easier with terrain and officers factored in.  All in all, it's a great set of rules considering the price and I would bet it handles a big game with relative ease.  Certainly a great set of rules for an afternoon of gaming.  I'd like to try the SYW rules as well.

Friday, December 29, 2017

2018 Hobby Focus & Priorities

Normally I would post a "year in review" but I sort of did that on Christmas so I thought I'd post my upcoming thoughts for 2018, specifically in terms of project plans and gaming plans.

Most years I have about 5 to 10 different "priorities" and "focus" areas to hone in on and that's proven to be inefficient, ineffective, and actually quite costly.  "How can 10 things be priorities?"  You're asking.

So this year I'm narrowing my scope in on 2 specific projects for the year, with the intent of making significant progress in these departments.  The first, obviously, is World War II.  With my rules quest in high-gear and Alex's UP THE BLUE rules providing some great motivation and impetus to "get stuff done" I'm looking to the future for potential MEGA GAMES, campaigns, and megalomaniac projects including Ponyri Station, and even parts of Stalingrad like Pavlov's House, or the Nail Factory.  Possibly even the Wargamer's Holy Grail, the Tractor Works!

The second project focus is me going back to my wargaming roots with the American War for Independence.  Musket Miniatures' 15mm AWI troops were the first historical miniatures I ever purchased that weren't microarmor and I am very close to completion with this project.  In fact there are probably just a few more Regiments on each side to complete, then the stragglers can be individually mounted for skirmish gaming.  (This Very Ground or Neil Thomas Skirmish Wargaming anyone?) 

I had kind of let the AWI project go in recent years so it's time to dust off the cobwebs and get some great AWI battles on the table.  I'd like to explore more of the COMMANDS & COLORS: TRICORNE rules, which in my opinion really evoke the period feel more than any rules set I've played depicting linear, 18th Century Conflict.

 I will also provide solid end-states for my projects that I can measure my progress against, and here they are:

World War II:
Standardize all World War II basing across the board and for every theater (ground cover, texture, and flocking).
All Soviet Troops I have should be based for CROSSFIRE/UP THE BLUE/IRON CROSS/etc
Finish my Stalingrad Soviet Marine Battalion for CROSSFIRE
Finish my GrossDeutschland CROSSFIRE company
Finish my SS CROSSFIRE company
Get my American and British/Canadian forces off the ground, first with an "UP THE BLUE" ready force, and then with suitable BATTLEGROUP forces.
Play an actual Ponyri Station battle occurring within the town itself (which would entail lots of additional terrain builds).

American War for Independence:
Paint all AWI troops that I have left that have not already been painted.
Complete the encampment / oxen resupply trains as well as the artillery.
Flock all of my existing units / standardize texture, ground cover, flocking
Play the Saratoga campaign with battles fought on the tabletop  (and delve into a true campaign, with a hex or map based strategic game, followed by battles occurring on the tabletop)
Integrate Commands & Colors: Tricorne into my battles wherever possible.
Play a large Black Powder AWI battle (Freeman's Farm comes to mind.  Monmouth would be too big for my table but I've always been fascinated by Monmouth Courthouse)

Last year I started to "up my game" with terrain and while I've introduced many new techniques and kit onto my table, I'm not where I want to be yet so this year will be "the year of terrain" with me trying to standardize terrain features like forests, hills, my gaming table surface (which will be going through another makeover), buildings, and built up areas.

So there you have it.  WWII, AWI, and Terrain will be my primary focuses for 2018.  This is not to say that I won't be playing other games, rules, and eras, but simply that my priorities are geared towards finishing my WWII open projects, and finishing ALL of my AWI troops that I currently own.

I have to say, for having a 1 year old in the house, we still did get to our fair share of gaming and I'm hoping to expand those plans for 2018.  Should be a wild ride!  

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Focus Hint #2

My last teaser didn't garner too many brave souls, so perhaps this one will jog your collective memories!

Okay if this doesn't do it, I dont know what will. 

Why am I having so much fun with this?!?!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Soviet Scouts, Urban Ruin Drop Terrain, and 2018 Project Priority Hint Contest

As promised, I thought I'd post up my Soviet World War II scout unit.  These are battlefront minis and I really love them as they have lots of personality and were a joy to paint.
Definitely in "fighting" poses, these guys are ready for action!
 What's the coolest thing about them?  Some of them are armed with German Schmeissers!  I painted them in the ubiquitous Soviet "ameoba" camo pattern uniform.  When I used the "authentic" colors, they turned out too dark and you couldn't see the camouflage.  So I brightened the green, and darkened the splotches and the result you get are these guys.

 They're based for Crossfire, FoW, Alex's UP THE BLUE! rules, Battlegroup, just about any game I could want to use them with.  3 x stands, as it "stands" now.  I have 7 figures left.  I guess I'll make one more stand and a command stand?  Or buy another pack!

Rocks denote a command base.  Note the "splotches"!

Also thought I'd show off my urban drop-terrain which is just about done.  This is the first in a series of structures and terrain pieces I will be assembling for upcoming "urban nightmare" scenarios.  What can I say?  After the "rattenkrieg" game during Fall In, I'm extra motivated for some urban WWII fighting in, say, Ponyri or Stalingrad!
A small industrial building that's been completely bombed out.  Used actual smashed bricks for alot of the ground cover. 
 You may recall my "brick dust basing" technique that I used from "Steven's Balagan" blog.  Happily reconstructed here.

I LOVE this picture!

And this picture!

And lastly, if you've stuck with me this far, I thought I' give a sneak preview hint of my second project focus for 2018 (besides WWII).  Important to note that in this era, most of my miniatures are already painted and I'm a short skip and a jump from being 100% painted.  Plus I'd like to game much more of the era and there are some new and old rules to play.

Listen below and place your guess in the comments section: