Friday, December 24, 2010

Battle of Raszyn, 6mm Fast Play Grande Armee (FPGA)

I wanted to try some small-scale stuff for a change and so pulled my 6mm collection out of storage and we had a small game of Fast Play Grande Armee (FPGA). The scenario was based on the 1809 Battle of Raszyn which is somewhat unique as it is a Napoleonic battle where the French were not one of the main combatants. The background is that as part of the Austrian strategic plan for their 1809 campaign they wished to quickly knock the Poles out of the war so as to have greater freedom on their flanks for future operations against the French and their German allies. Historically the Poles were caught flat-footed, so I decided to have two players control them to reflect their more scattered command. Dan volunteered to run the Austrians and so Stacy and Sylvain had the honour of defending Poland from sausage-eating, lederhosen-wearing tyranny.

FPGA has a mechanism whereas each turn can last between 1 and 4 'pulses' (determined by a die roll) which makes time rather elastic and adds a bit of friction and nail-biting for the players. In this scenario the game length was set at 5 turns and the Poles definitely wanted the sun to go down as soon as possible so the full weight of the Austrian attack could not be brought to bear. As it turned out poor Dan had to watch as the first 3 turns melted away with only a pulse played for each. The Austrians were barely at their assault positions and the day was getting late! Feeling the pressure Dan threw a cavalry brigade over a ford on his right flank, hoping to occupy the opposite town and force a bridgehead before the Poles could move to block his efforts.

The Austrian hussars made good inroads initially, moving over the river to the opposite bank, but while they were waiting for infantry support the Poles quickly moved a cavalry brigade, supported by artillery, to throw them back.

It was then a race to see who would be able to get infantry into the town for control of this part of battlefield. The Austrians had a moment of hesitation (reflected in a bad control roll) and the Poles stole a march and made it into the town to set up a hasty but firm defense.

The remainder of the game was spent with the Austrians trying to force their way across the river at three crossing points but with no real success.

There were several cinematic moments in the game. One of which was when a Saxon General who was commanding a brigade of elite Saxon grenadiers (allies of the Poles), safe in his town sector position at the central bridge, got his blood up (i.e. Epic Fail on the control roll) and decided to launch an unsupported assault across the bridge to 'run those Austrian rascals off'. In our mind's eye we could see the Saxons stamping across the bridge in a route-step march column, colours waving, with orders from their brigadier that they go in with muskets unloaded and only use the bayonet. Little did they know that there was a MONSTROUS Austrian brigade across from them with no such romantic notions who let them have it with point blank musket fire. Lets just say there were many grenadier bearskins floating down the river a few minutes later.

Nonetheless, this bright spot aside, the Austrians just could not shift the Poles in a meaningful way and the battle ended as a bloody but solid Polish victory. I had streamlined the skirmish rules a bit which seemed to work well, but the artillery still needs to be tweeked in order to be made more lethal as it just doesn't have that 'killer-of-the-battlefield' feel. Next time!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old Skool Gaming

This past spring my good friend John Bertolini came down for a visit and not only brought along his lovely wife but also his collection of  40mm 'Old School' mid-19th Century soldiers. This was great in of itself but it was made even better as John has sculpted and cast all of these miniatures himself. The style is very reminiscent of the 'semi-round' toy soldiers that you would see in Europe from the turn of the century. They are quite charming, with those classic proportions you see in figures from this era (i.e. exagerated features , wasp-waisted and with pidgeon-chests). John has completed the traditional feel by painting them in the classic high varnish style. I really love the look of these figures, especially when they are arrayed en masse.

John is unpacking his lads and giving me a brief of the scenario and rules.
It was a spectacular spring day so we set up the game outside on the deck. I think the rules we used were 'Ever Victorious Armies' or something like that. It makes no matter as we had a great afternoon moving great schwaks of lead soldiers around a table, enjoying the sun and gossiping about the hobby (actually I'm not even sure who won). Perfect.

In this image you can get a definite impression of John's Italian roots...
John is trying to convince me that I've made a horrible, horrible mistake in the deployment of my troops...
Now, how cool are these cavalry! I believe John is thinking about beefing up these regiments with even more castings which will be brilliant. The table will veritably groan under the weight of it all!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Who is this Mowwwses?

This posting makes me feel a little nostalgic.  I've borrowed this write-up from one I did for the Fawcett Ave Conscript blog. I dug up these photos from one of the New Years Games we had back in Winnipeg  around 2002(?), and so I thought I'd post them here for a laugh. Its a rather cheesy chariot race across the Red Sea. My apologies for the crap photos but I think you can get the gist of what went on.

If memory serves me correctly the scenario went something like this: Moses had just parted the Red Sea and legged it across with the slaves. Pursuing them into the middle of the wet seabed is a whole passel of young Egyptian noblemen in their chariots.

The blue foam-board serves as the 'Wall of Water'. The shorter panel at the back moved along the length each turn, serving as the collapsing channel that the charioteers have to escape from. Anything touched by this is fish-food. The surface is just a crumpled roll of packing paper.
Seeing this, Moses asks The Almighty to hit 'flush' and the boys in the chariots have to dash like hell back to their shoreline before they are engulfed by the collapsing water channel. Since all of these young lads are in line for the throne they take this opportunity to thin out the bloodline a bit. A chariot drag/death race ensues, with whips, chariot archers, NASCAR chariot rubbing, attacking sea serpents, seaweed road obstacles and onrushing wall-o-water-from-the-arse all taking their toll.

Here we have a rather blurry shot of the charioteers all vying for position, talking smack while scampering like hell to back to the opposing shoreline.
I drank waaay too much beer with my visiting brothers-in-law and I have no idea who won (Kevin, Rob?), but my recollection is that we had fun. Everyone who rolled-out for the game assembled and painted-up a Wargames Foundry chariot that I provided (which was my Tom Sawyer approach to getting them done-up - sneaky bugger me ;)). Good times, good times!

This temple served as the finish line for the returning charioteers. Note Yul Brynner waiting in his chariot saying, 'Those crazy kids...'

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

One of Greg's Sudan Games

A good friend of mine, Greg, has an absolutely beautiful collection of Sudan-era colonials. He came to Regina to put on a game at my place (when we still lived in the loft). I don't remember the exact specifics of the battle but I do know that the Brits came to a sticky end. Here are a few shots from that game.
Here's Greg explaining the scenario to the boys.

A British engineering group it the target of the Sudanese attack.

Tribesmen ready to take their spears to the infidels.

These Highlanders get the worst of it from an attack of camel-riders.
The Sudanese force their way into the town and start hunting for the Engineering party.

The British relief force arrive just too late to save their comrades.

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Leading Man' Musketeer Game

'Leading Man' - Musketeers
This was a musketeer game I put on for several groups of friends in 2009. I made up some simple 'Bang - You're Dead' rules that I then tacked onto my silly 'Leading Man' rules. I've run a few of these type of 'Leading Man' games, the first being one set in Roman occupied Germany, another in Biblical Egypt and this one set in northern Spain. They all begin with a historical premise but the underlying fact is that each is in reality a movie set with each player taking on the part of a principal actor in an epic film. The goal is to gain as much fame during the game so that at the end of the shoot their actor is proclaimed as the 'Leading Man'. Yeah, its pretty silly but we've had a lot of laughs with it.