Monday 29 September 2014

6mm ACW Battle of Winchester 1862

ACW Scenario and AAR

The Confederates advance
A change from the norm for this post, one of the joys of having been gaming for 35 years or so is the wide variety of figures of different periods and scales you have lying round the house. I have very rarely sold figure collections and thankfully I have a dedicated games room to keep everything in. The curse of gaming for that long is having stuff lying around unplayed with for years, I try and get these old collections out every now and again. The last time my 6mm Adler ACW collection saw the light of day was about 5 years ago when we did the 1st day at Gettysburg (my favourite and a game I would like to do again).

I went fairly small, the players that day weren't big ACW buffs and hadn't played the rules before, added to that I planned the bash as a single day affair. Rules were Johnny Reb 2 (The blue one) by far the best ACW rules for me, only criticism is that charges are a bit slow so we changed that.

Tigers at the Ford
 The background to the battle is as follows, after a series of victories for Stonewall Jackson during the Shenandoah Valley campaign he pursued (not very well) the Union Army of Banks towards the town of Winchester. Outside the town with favourable terrain the Union troops rallied to face Jackson again. Stonewall decided to attack at first light in dense fog to limit the defensive preparations of the Yanks, however his troops were by this time where close to being exhausted.

We employed two special rules for the game to reflect the unique circumstances,

1) Visibility started at 4 inches, at the start of each turn 2d6 where rolled and visibility increased by the difference between the two dice i.e. a roll of a 6 and a 4 and visibility increased by 2 ".
2) At the start of each turn each Confederate Brigade rolled 2 d6 any double and the unit was declared as being tired and although allowed to shoot was not allowed to move.

Waiting for the Rebs
Union OOB

C in C Brig Williams
Donellys Brigade 1 x 30 figs RM Elite, 3 x 20 RM, 1 x 15 RM Elite
Gordons Brigade 2 x 20 RM Elite, 1 x 30 RM, 1 x 20 RM, 1 x 25 RM Green
Maine Brigade 3 x 20 RM, 1 x 25 Cav MLC Green
Hatch's Cav Brigade 4 x 20 Cav BLC
Artillery Bty 1 6 x 10P, Bty 2 4 x 10P, Bty, 4 x 6S 2 x 12H

Unless stated all units and officers are Ave, RM = Rifled musket, MLC = Muzzle loading carbine, BLC = Breech Loading Carbine, Bty = Artillery Battery, P = Parrot, S = Smoothbore, H = Howitzer.

I have made a couple of changes from the historical orbat for gameablity, some of the Union regts on the day had between 700 and 900 men, very big for the period. My biggest regts are 30 figs or 600 men at 20 to one therefore I have split some down to smaller units and splitting the 900 man 10th Maine into its own Brigade.

US forces mostly started on table with Donelly stood to covering the Plank Road and Creek, Gordons on the high ground west of Winchester, the Maine troops were marching through Winchester. The Cav arrived on a roll of 6 (d6) on turn 3 then a 5 on turn 4 and so on. Union players were allowed to see the table prior to the start of the game.

Here come the Cavalry
Confederate OOB

Jacksons Division Superior GOC
Winders Brigade (S) 4 x 20 RM Elite, Bty 2 x 6S 2 x 3R
Campbells Brigade  2 x 20 RM, 1 x 20 SB, Bty 2x12 N 2 x Whitworth
Fulkerson Brigade 2 x 20 RM, 1 x 20 SB , Bty 2 x 3R 2 x 12H

Ewells Division
Trimbles Brigade 1 x 25 RM, 2 x 20 RM, 1 x 20 SB
Taylors Brigade (S) 2 x 30 RM, 2 x 20 RM
Special Brigade (S) 2 x 20 RM Elite, Bty 4 x 3R 2 x 6S

As with the Union OOB unless stated otherwise all units and officers are average, abbreviations are the same plus, SB = Smoothbore Musket, R = Rifled Artillery, N = Napoleon.

Confederate players had to plan their entry point and order of march on paper based on a scouting map prior to seeing the table, each brigade was given a blank counter to mark the head of each Brigade along with 3 additional counters to use as decoys. Confederates only put figures on the table when they became visible to a Union unit through the fog.

A very enjoyable game, the none ACW players seemed to enjoy both the scenario and the rules. I'm a big fan of the Johnny Reb order chit system, in bigger games it means everyone is doing something most of the time where as the igo ugo and card driven games people can be sat round for a while.

The Confederates attack plan was basically (without their knowledge) that of Jackson on the day, one Div up the Valley Pike and one on the Plank Road. Crossing the Creek on the Plank Road the Rebs met heavy resistance as the fog slowly lifted. A good old slogging match ensued forcing Donelly back with heavy casualties. On the other side of the hill Jackson suffered from a number of tired bounds slowing his advance but eventually managed to raise the Rebel Yell and charge headlong into both Gordons and the Maine Brigades, sadly for the Rebs they failed, the Union line (just) holding strong. As the smoke cleared the Union Cav had arrived and sured up the line, breech loaders are a real pain for Reb players, Jackson called off the attack.

Badly drawn map 8 x 4 table
A good balanced game with chances to win for both sides, very much enjoyed our trip back to the ACW. X Wing is very popular at the moment however the next "real" game will be Spanish Civil War. Anyone know of a good map drawing program for wargames ? I need one.

Monday 22 September 2014

28mm AWI Perry British - From box to table

 40th Regiment of Foot

Regular readers will be familiar with both the topics covered in this post, the quest to complete another AWI British Brigade, that of Grant using the wonderful 28mm Perry Plastics and the popular (in terms of page reads) From box to table. So here we have the 40th Foot photographed from leaving the box to being ready to game.

Small apology before the main article, I did suffer a bit with photography during the course of the project, some of the pics don't really show, as well as I would like, some of the contrasts between differing shades, especially on the red and buff.

Our basic figures on the left glued together off the sprue, on the right undercoated with Halfords Matt Black spray paint. I have always used black undercoat and have used the Halfords Spray for over 20 years it always covers, is always Matt and has a "grainy" texture which is perfect for taking paint. Unless stated otherwise all paints are Vallejo.

Add caption
The red coat first, from left to right, base coat Citadel Colour Dark Flesh, mid coat Citadel Foundation Mechrite Red, highlight Citadel Colour Blood Red.

Trousers next, I have gone for the blue grey winter trousers (see previous posts for discussions on this), a basic coat of 70898 Dark Sea Blue with a single dry brush highlight of that colour and 50:50 70951 White.

I have then used 70875 Beige Brown as the base coat for the musket as well as for the face and hands. A lighter colour than most would use for the musket, its a personal preference, an ink wash later darkens it and from distance on the table to me it looks right. I have then added a highlight to the musket with a 50:50 mix of Beige Brown and 70912 Tan Yellow. The metal work on the musket has been painted with 70863 Gunmetal Grey and the bayonet with Citadel Colour Mithril Silver.

Regiments with Buff facings, like the 40th also had Buff belts and straps,  which makes them slightly easier to paint. Ive used the Tan Yellow as a base coat for the cuffs, facings, waistcoat, belts and musket strap. A mid coat of 70976 Buff has been added. For none Buff regiments you would need to paint and highlight the facings then paint the belts etc white, I start with a Light Grey and build the colour to White.

The finish line is now close, the figure on the right has had a highlight on the Buff of a 50:50 Buff / White mix, followed by a clean up of the hat, cartridge box and scabbard with Black. A drybrush of 70992 Neutral Grey on the Black to pick out the highlights. Finally on that figure I have picked out the lace on the jacket with white. The left hand figure has had the face painted, a mid layer of 70804 Beige Red and a highlight of 70815 Basic Skintone.

The painting done, a wash of GW Devlan Mud on the musket and Buff and a wash of GW Ogryn Flesh on the er Flesh, 4 figs glued to an MDF base, the extra depth to protect the plastic muskets.

On the left I have plastered round the bases of the figures to hide them and then on the right painted the whole base Miniature Paints Earth Brown.

A dry brush of 80:20 White / Earth Brown and a slap of green Basetex.

The finished unit, a dry brush of yellow on the basetex and the addition of some grass tuffs. Just one more battalion, The 55th a Battery of guns and a Mounted Brigadier Commander to do, still on track to finish by Xmas. I've got some SCW on the paint table at the moment for a bit of a change, hope the post has helped some.

Saturday 13 September 2014

28mm WW2 Desert Game Time

WW2 Desert Big Game Tryout

British Mark VI
Over the last few game sessions at Castle R we have been getting the current main project, WW2 Desert in 28mm on the table. The painting of the figures has been the subject of a number of blog entries. This started off as a "skirmish" game, a box of Perry figs and a couple of vehicles a side, a quick look at the painting count on the right of this post (over 450 since last year at the time of writing this post) will show how its got out of hand, we have done lots of play testing of the rules over short "club night" games of 2-3 hours and got them sorted in that format. This was the first dip into a bigger game form, I knew we would need a few changes to them for the larger number of units.

The Italian Recon enter the arena
The scenario was my standard rules breaker game, running down the length of the table both sides move on table on a single road through a small village, the objective being a central village. Lots of hills and scrub spread round the table (you don't want to be caught in the open in WW2) to hide behind. Both sides start with a company of infantry plus supports and a two vehicle recon unit. The Italians had an Autoblinda AB41 armoured car, a CV38 armed with an 20mm AT rifle, a rifle section of 11 figs, a Mg section of 9 figs, a HQ with 45mm Mortar and AT Rifle plus a 10 fig Bersaglieri section. The Brits had a recon unit of a Marmon Herrington AC and a Mark VI Light tank plus a company of Desert Rats, 3 10 fig sections plus light mortar and A/T.

British re enforcements arrive.
The rules we use are basically the same set we use for Spanish Civil War, loosely based on Seven Coffins for Seven Brothers with bit of Toofatlardies. We use a card driven activation described in detail in earlier SCW blogs. For that period we have a money element to the game which enables players to buy upgrades and more stuff. I was looking for a mechanic to set the WW2 game apart from the SCW game and one early morning, not being able to sleep due to shifts I was watching TV poker when inspiration struck

Here comes the flop !
It works like this, at the start of each turn the deck of unit cards is shuffled and each side is dealt two cards, 5 cards are then put face up on the table, the flop. Both sides now roll 2d6 to determine who has initiative, the highest score gains it and holds the initiative on a score 2 less than the winning roll. So a player winning with a 10 holds the initiative on an 8. Once initiative has been won the turn begins and cards are activated in order from left to right, that unit moves and or shoots and then the next card activates, standard stuff.

The player with the initiative is in control of the flop, he can choose to let it run, allowing the cards to activate in turn. Or he can take one of a number of actions, he can exchange the position of two of the cards in the flop, so above if the Italian player had the initiative he may want to exchange the Sicilia card for the Allied Recon so that that unit activates first. Another action is to take a card from their hand and place that anywhere in the flop, a particularly evil move if you have the Tea Break card.

A brave Italian tanker looks over t'hill, it'll end in tears
Finally a player can draw a card from the unused deck, once the effects of the card played moved or drawn have been finished (so in the example above, after the Italian Infantry had moved and or fired) the player has to roll to keep initiative, 2d6 greater than or equal to the current initiative score (8 in the example above). Pass the roll and the player keeps the initiative and adds 1 to the initiative score, fail and the initiative passes to the other player, who then takes command of the flop. Each player has a maximum of one action per flop. After all the cards on the table have been used another 5 cards are dealt as new flop.

When the turn ends on the tea break card a new turn begins and initiative is rolled for again. The system has produced some interesting game play, win the initiative on a 4 and off you go like Rommel on speed, win it on a 10 and you're a bit more cautious !

Can you smell burning ?
We managed 2 games, both predictably wins for the Brits. The first game was over quite quickly, poor re enforcement rolls for the Italians and excellent for the Brits gave them an unbeatable numerical advantage in armour. The second game was more even to start with, the Italians briefly got a toe hold in the objective village, only to draw fire from every man and his dog, wiping them out to a man, everyone gave the village a wide berth after that !

Last thing the Italians wanted to see.
The main body of rules work great in the big game setting, I want to try a couple of other things with the card activation to see if we can speed things up in that department. More units activating on one card is one possibility, the other would be to use a Johnny Reb type order chit method, both will get a run out before Xmas I hope. Weekend game tomorrow will see the dust blown off our ACW collection for a one day only battle. X Wing, SCW and Vietnam are cued up after that before we return to the Desert. Our regulars have purchased some Afrika Korp so the next game for the Brits might not be so straight forward.

You can never have too many Recon vehicles

British Armour dominating the battlefield

British Infantry wait in cover for the order to attack