Thursday, 23 June 2016

Another Peninsular War game

While Vlad and I were fighting it out on our board (see previous post) A few of the other guys from the Earlswood Wargamers were scrapping it out on another board. I have included a few photos as it looked amazing (although it was felt afterwards that the board was too big and both sides spent too long manoeuvring and not enough time shooting at each other to make a satisfactory game). Still, it looked nice! The boards were Big Al's again. The buildings are from Grande Manor. 







Monday, 20 June 2016

Peninsular War: Sharp Practice Battle Report- Escort Duty

This week we got another game of Sharp Practice in. Big Al kindly volunteered to lend me and Vlad one of his boards to use. While it was originally made to represent WW2 Crete it is also a perfect proxy for Spain during the peninsular war. Vlad and I dressed it up with a bit of Scatter terrain and my Spanish buildings, and I have to say, it looked amazing.

Vlad and I randomly rolled up a mission. He played the French again, and I was the British. Vlad's force comprised of four groups of Line Infantry, two groups of Voltiguers and a group of Grenadiers. It was commanded by Colonel Le Grande Fromage, and the light infantry was lead by Irish-American Captain Slain. He had another Status II leader and a Status I leader. He took a musician and a preacher (although we felt it wasn't appropriate for the atheist French to have a preacher to we called her a spy- but all the basic rules applied- her names was Madam Petit). 
I had five groups of  Line Infantry, one group of Highland regular infantry and a group of Highland Light Infantry. I took a physic (in the form of Spanish Surgeon Don Cortador) and a musician. My force was commanded by Major Ramsbottom, ably assisted by the Hanoverian Captains Wankmuller, and Sargent Wullie of the Highland Light Infantry. 

The British engineers are rebuilding an old Spanish fortress that has been partially dismantled by the French and are desperately short of tools and building materials. Major Ramsbottom of the KGL has been tasked with protecting a delivery of these vital supplies to the fortress. Colonel Le Grande Formage has been ordered to intercept the delivery. 


This is the battle field we were using. I had to deliver my supplies up the road that runs along side the two farm houses on the left side of the board, escaping off the far side.  The french were deploying in the hills to the far right hand side.  



Major Ransbottom, not expecting an attack, had his men deployed in column of march to try to make as much progress as he could. The Major was lead his KGL formation at the front of the column, and Captain Wankmuller lead his Hanoverian/Scottish formation to the rear of the column. The Highland Light Infantry were deployed on the flank as a token effort to prevent any ambushes. 

The Light Infantry spotted the French advancing through the olive trees and open fire on their flanks, killing one. 



Captain Wankmuller ordered his men to form a line and began turning it to face the threat. It manoeuvred slowly over the uneven field. 


Colonel le Grande Fromage ordered his men to advance quickly towards the KGL, but their advance was hampered by the uneven terrain. 


Meanwhile Captain Slain led his French and Irish Voltigeures to outflank the Highland Light Infantry, forcing the Scotsmen to withdraw to the safety of the British lines, and preventing them gaining enfilading fire on the advancing French line.


The French Line continue to struggle with the terrain but eventually they manage to fan out into one long line with four groups  facing the three of the KGL.  The French then unleashed a crashing volley on two consecutive turns causing a massive 20 shock to the KGL (it should have been more but we later realised Vlad only rolled 24 dice each volley and not the 31 that he should have done). The KGL held the line but the shock effectively rendered them fairly ineffective for the rest of the game. 


Captain Wankmuller lead his Hanoverian-Scottish formation out and they confronted the French line, and unlished several controlled volleys into the French line at effective range thanks to their Sharp Practice ability. Added to this was the enfilading fire from what was left of the Highland Light Infantry. The combined fire was too much for the conscripts in the French line who broke formation and fell back before the onslaught.


Colonel le Grande Fromage managed to reform his shattered line but they were pretty beaten up and needed a few turns of respite to get back in fighting order. To give them the break they needed the Volitigeurs and the Grenadiers advanced towards Captain Wankmuller's line and launched a volley. Wankmuller's line held, although it suffered some casualties and Captain Wankmuller himself was injured he took a musket ball to his calf. The Hanoverian-Scottish reply was a volley that took out half the grenadiers. The grenadier sergeant was rendered senseless by a musket ball that glanced off his scalp. His men carried him back to safety behind the grove of olive trees. 


Captain Slain's Volteigures continued to press their attack, firing again at the Hanoverian-Scottish formation. Despite his wound Captain Wankmuller held his men in check and they returned the volley, wounding Captain Slain. The voltiguers withdrew behind the stone walls.


The supply cart slowly made its way up the hill towards the safety of the Anglo-Spanish fortress. The French were forced to concede that there was little they could do to stop it, and Colonel le Grande Formage reluctantly gave the order for his men to withdraw, which they did in good order, taking their casualties with them. The British lacked to will or the ability to press home their advantages, and allowed them to go.


 By the end of the game the French line and the two British lines were badly beaten up and in no state to press the attack. The KGL had never really recovered from the two crashing volleys, although they had only suffered a single casualty the shock they had suffered meant they really weren't fit for much. The Hanovarian-Scottish formation was equally beaten up, and had suffered a lot of casualties, and Captain Wankmuller was loosing a lot of blood from his nasty leg wound. 



The French had suffered to, they had lost half their grenadiers and almost half their line infantry, and their morale was severely depleted. The grenadier sergeant was still unconscious and Captain Slain of the voltigeurs had been lightly wounded too. 



This was a great game, and a closely fought thing. Vlad's French came close to breaking the KGL with his crashing volleys (and perhaps he might have done if he had rolled the right number of dice!) but the arrival of the Hanoverian-Scottish formation had meant that the French line was facing off six groups to four, so were onto a looser from the outset. The rapid firing and loading, and disciplined controlled fire from the Hanoverian-Sottish meant that they were able to force back the whole French force. 

Vlad wants to refight this one soon. Their are a lot of variables in this mission, such as where both sides deploy, and how much progress the cart can make before the french appear. I think I had things easy, as Vlad was hampered by the terrain and I managed to get the cart halfway up the board before being ambushed. A refight might make a very different game. 

Monday, 13 June 2016

Frostgrave: Cheap Pyramids

After the success of my candlestick-turned-columns I went back to the charity shop to see what else I could make into Frostgrave scenery. It didn't take me long to find these priced £5 for all 4. They are made from soapstone and have been hand carved (presumably a souvenir from a trip to Egypt). I didn't bother painting them as I would have had to pick out all the detail of the hieroglyphics, which seemed like a waste of time, so I just based them and added snow. I think they will be great for breaking up line of sight. 




Saturday, 11 June 2016

Frostgrave: The Titan's Skull!

No one is quite sure what the Titan Skull is- Is it really the skull of a colossal giant, or even a god, as some tales claim? Is it an artefact of great power? Or is it nothing more that a folly made by some mad wizard to impress his neighbours?...none can say, but the Titan's skull, as it has become known by the adventurers in Frostgrave, is something of a land mark in the frozen ruins- the closest thing in the ruins to a tourist attraction. 



The skull was bought in a pet shop for £4. I didn't bother to paint it as the paint job was rather good. I just added a base, the snow and the icicles. 

This next piece I found in a box of half finished scenery I made. I don't even recall making it- it looks like I made it from offcuts of blue foam. I finished it off and added snow- a nice useful ruined building- I think I might make some more as it was very easy to do. 



Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Peninsular War: Le Grand Fromage strikes back!

Vlad and I got another game of Sharp Practice in last week. After our first game I realised I had made a few mistakes- such as giving the British army a six point advantage by giving them an extra Status II officer they were not entitled to. With this mistake rectified Vlad and I decided to fight out another battle. Given that I have been busy making lots more terrain this last fortnight, our board was quite densely packed with scenery, which made it an interesting game- slightly more difficult for manoeuvre large formations, and perhaps favouring skirmishers. 
We took the same basic forces from the rules and had eight points left over for support choices. Vlad, playing Colonel Le Grand Fromage,  opted to take a drummer, a secondary deployment point and a group of Grenadiers. I was playing Major Ramsbottom, and opted to change my light infantry for a group of Riflemen, and to upgrade one rifleman to a marksman. This proved to be a decisive point, as the Riflemen were useless and the Grenadiers saved the day...as you will soon see. 

This was the battlefield. We randomly determined where we would set up our deployment points and found we both set up on the lane that bisects the board along the front of the larger farm house. This meant we would be deployed pretty much facing each other. 


My men deployed first, and I managed to get my Riflemen into the big farm house, and they took up positions on the balcony. Because they are light infantry this light cover is upgraded by one level to hard cover- I felt pretty confident that they would be able to command the battlefield from up there. 


My Hanoverian Regiment moved in column of march as fast as they could towards the large farmhouse. 


Vlad deployed his Voltigeur skirmishers, and the fighting began- they peppered my riflemen with musket balls- killing three of them! The rifles shot back only killing one voltigeur- first blood to Vlad. 


The Kings German Legion arrived with Major Ramsbottom and proceeded to struggle to advance - having to break formation to move through the orange grove. Eventually they reformed in hard cover from the orange groves stone walls. 


Colonel Le Grand Fromage deployed his line troops opposite the KGL, forming two formations into one massive formation. They had no cover, and so in theory the KGL had all the advantages, even though I was out numbered three groups to four. 




The Hanoverian's attempt to flank the French line was blocked by the timely arrival of the French Grenadiers. These brave, stubborn Frenchies were outnumbered, but they had to hold or the Hanoverians would have had enfilading fire onto the French line. 



Captain Slain, the Irish-American volunteer commanding the French voltigeurs lead his men to the KGL's flank, and soon their short range  shots were ripping into the KGL's unprotected flanks. 



The Hanovarian captain charged into the French Grenadiers, hoping to dislodge them and force the French line to change formation, providing relief for the KGL. Although the British had the advantage in the fight they were repelled, and the Grenadiers continued to hold their position on the flank, and the French line continued to hammer the KGL. 


Major Ramsbottom tried in vane to hold his line together, but the enfilading fore from the Voltigeurs on their flank was too much for the KGL, and they started to fall back, breaking formation. Ramsbottom reformed the line twice, but in the end the French attack was too much for the Germans and they broke, and Major Ramsbottom was forced to concede the field and order his remaining men to withdrew, leaving the village to the Colonel Le Grande Fromage. 


Colonel Le Grand Fromage- Victor of the day!



On reflection it was easy to say what went wrong- I deployed my Riflemen very badly, exposing them to musket fire from the Voltigeurs from the outset. This one group had cost 14 points, and it far to brittle to stand up to the accurate fire of the French skirmishers. Upon reflection  should have sat them back in a good position to protect the KGL's flank, and just sniped off the French skirmishers, taking advantage of the rifles longer ranges. 
The French grenadiers did a fantastic job of holding the flank from the Hanoverian attack. Their stubborn refusal to give in, and their robust repulsion of the Hanoverian's charge meant that the French line could concentrate on the KGL- wining Vlad the game. 
It just shows that the choices you make for the support units are sometimes the decisive factor in a battle. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

Peninsular War: Bits of Scenery

Apologies for it being so long since my last post but I have been busy at work. In the mean time I have also been busy making some scenery for Sharp Practice and Frostgrave. Here are a few of the things I have been working on for the Peninsular war, although they many be useful for other Mediterranean or even Caribbean settings (Freebooters Fate perhaps?)

First up- A couple of road side shrines. These are fairly common in Catholic countries in Europe, including Spain. These two were made from Blue Foam, with the usual corrugated card roofs. I sculpted the statues of the Virgin Mary and the Madonna with child from greenstuff- I am not expecting any phone calls from Games Workshop sculpting team yet, but the result ins good enough to tell what it is meant to be (especially when painted)



Next up I made a lot of walls- A bit too much actually- I plan to sell some. These were fairly easy to make from Blue foam and corrugated card. I think you can tell what it is meant to be. 



And finally a tool shed for the farm house- I made the door for this one from balsa wood and I am rather pleased with the way it came out. 


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Peninsular War: First Game of Sharp Practice

This Sunday say my first opportunity to play Sharp Practice 2 down at Earlswood. I refereed the game while Vlad and Dean played the French, and James and Dave played the British.

The French commander, Colonel le Grand Fromage, was leading a force of three groups of line infantry and a group of grenadiers supported by a large skirmish screen of three groups of French and Irish voltegeurs. The British commander, Major Rodger Ramsbottom, lead a force that was larger, and consisted of three groups of King's German Legion (regular line), one group of Highlanders (regular line), one group of Highland Light Infantry (skirmishers), two groups of of Hanoverian Regiment (regular line) and a group of Portuguese Cacadores fighting in line.  

The table was set and sides chosen at random. The battle was the basic battle mission for the rules- keep things simple for the first game. Because the random location of the deployment point meant that they set up at opposite ends of the table the game ended up being fought down the length of the table. The British set up inside a farm with sturdy walls, while the French were advancing from the open farmland. 

The initial  few turns of the battle favoured the French as they were able to get a lot of their men onto the battlefield before the Britsih could get organised. Major Ramsbottom led the Portuguese and the Highlanders out onto one flank to protect the farm, while the Hanoverians took up position along the walls of the farm yard. The Portuguese and Highlanders faced two formations of the French- (they were outnumbered 2-1) but their orders were to hold at all costs. If the French could break their flank the Hanoverian would be in trouble as the French and Irish Voltiguers were getting in position to out flank them. 

The decisive pivot point in the battle came when the King's German Legion turned up, along with a detachment of they Highland Light Infantry, and suddenly the tide seemed to turn in the battle. The Voltiguers who had, up until now, enjoyed the advantages of being able to snipe at the Hanoverian Regiment in the farm found themselves confronted by a huge formation of KGL firing controlled volleys into the orange grove to flush out the French and Irish skirmishers. 

What happened next was, as often happened in Napoleonic battles, a matter of turning the flank. If the Colonel le Grande Fromage could break the Portuguese and the Highlanders with his line infantry he before the voltigeurs broke he could march right up to the flanks of the British line. Similarly, if the KGL could rout the voltigeurs before the British flank broke then they could roll up the French line with ease. 

In the end it was the Voltigeurs who broke first, having been reduced to just two men and having had their officer killed by an unlucky musket ball. This was the beginning of the end for the French. Having lost the flank (and 7 force moral points) Colonel le Grand Fromage decided he would order his men to withdraw. The battle was over. The Irish Legion had lost a lot of men, and a competent officer. The Scots and Portuguese had been badly battered but thanks to the heroic leadership of Major Ramsbottom, they had held off twice their numbers of French line. 

Here are a few Photos from the game...

The French rush forward to push the Hanoverians in the farm yard while Major Ramsbottom leads the Portuguese and Scots out to hold the flank at all costs.

The French (and Irish) Voltigeurs work their way through the orange grove to outflank the Hanoverian Regiment 

The KGL arrive to save the day...and the tide is turned. 

The Irish Voltiguers skirmishing in the orange grove

Highland Light Infantry make their way through a copse of trees towards the Voltigeurs. 


The French Line try to batter the Portuguese and Scottish regiments, but they refuse to break. 

Finally the Voltiguers break, after fighting to almost the last man.

Without the threat of the voltigeurs in the orange grove the KGL begin to manoeuvre to outflank the French line, and Colonel le Grande Fromage begins to withdraw form the field, leaving victory to Major Ramsbottom. 
Overall impressions of Sharp Practice were very favourable. It flows well, and has an instinctive and easy to learn mechanics. Its similarity in many ways to Chain of Command made it even easier for my players to pick up, as we have all played that game. Everyone liked it so much that they want another game at the next club night, but I will have to get some more French painted before then.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Getting Ready For Sharp Practice- Finished stuff.

Since Sharp Practice 2 came out I have been very busy with my Peninsular War Napoleonic skirmish- mostly working on the French, as well as getting my sabot magnetic bases sorted out. in the last two weeks I have painted a house, a cart and nineteen figures!

Here are some photos of what I have been working on. 

First up- a French Deployment Point Marker- Sharp Practice 2, much like Chain of Command, uses deployment markers to denote where troops arrive on the board from. I was hunting around for a suitable marker then I found these two figures- A hussar offering a cantiniere a purse of coins  in exchange for a flagon of strong ale. The Hussar is from Foundry. The cantiniere was from the same  Ebay seller who sold me the Spanish ladies. 


Next up- a French infantry Colonel form Warlord Games. 


These colourful chaps are six Voltergeurs from Perry Miniatures plastic kit. 


 And finally here is my finished house- I want to add some interior details at some point but it will do for now for Sundays game.