Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Rebels and Patriots: The Battle of Guilford Mill

With Steve and Matt having broken their AWI cherry with Sharp Practice, George and I decided to rope them into a game of Rebels and Patriots, ambitiously hosting a 48 point a side game loosely based on the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. As with our earlier games of TMWWBK we are painting up forces as we play games, but as you can see we are getting there!


As per the historical battle we lined up the American forces in three lines, of increasingly better quality troops. Unlike the historical battle half the British army was made up of Hessian mercenaries and the Patriots had some Indians hiding in the wood!

The American plan was to wear down the advancing Loyalist army before unleashing their Continental line on the weary survivors. This would mean that the front line of the North Carolina Militia would need to inflict a number of casualties before inevitably breaking. Well they achieved one of those things...


A couple of turns in and one unit of the North Carolina Militia run away after being shot at by the Hessians leaving a huge gap in the Patriot line!


However as the 1st Maryland Continentals moved up they rolled a double 6 on their activation roll.  This means something good happens and rolling another 6 I consulted the table on page 22 of the rules - huzzah!, another 4 points of troops! Having a spare unit of Virginia Militia I brought them onto the table.

Elsewhere George's Highlanders rolled a double 1, meaning something bad happens! He rolls a D6 and gets another 1 (I kid you not) meaning the Highlanders mistake the nearest friendly unit for the enemy and fire at them. With the first round of fire giving a +1 on dice rolls this looked bad for George but fortunately for him the nearest unit was one of Light Infantry which take 3 hits to kill not 2 so only 2 redcoats fell to the friendly fire!


With the gap in the line,  I decided to move the new militia up into the second line and move one in the second line up to the face the Hessians...

Unfortunately the newly arrived Virginia Militia where clearly confused by the smoke of battle, rolled a double 1 and then a 1 on the table, firing their first volley into the 1st Maryland in front of them killing four! This was probably my best firing roll of the game! 


Elsewhere the first line of Militia were beginning to wobble as the Loyalist army poured fire into them...


...and soon they broke with two units routing and one barely holding out despite Matt's leader falling to British Light Infantry fire!


The 2nd Maryland move up and the Virginian Rifle Corp move into the light woods to engage the British, but the sudden collapse of the North Carolina Militia had a negative effect on the next line of troops with the Virginia Militia failing Morale tests and becoming Broken.


Having spent many hours painting up his Militia, it was a sad sight for Matt to see them all hiding in his carry box and not being on the table!


That said, despite not having inflicted a large number of casualties on the Loyalists as planned, they had considerably slowed their advance and as time ran out for us, the battle looked like this...


Despite us running out of time, Matt and Steve enjoyed the game. I would have liked to see the Indians get into hand to hand combat with the Hessians but they failed an order roll in the last turn, so we'll have to wait another day for that... 

Whilst only a learning game, in retrospect, we probably should have put a turn limit on the game to encourage the Loyalists to advance up the table quicker and not stand around trading shots with the North Carolina Militia. That said it was still fun and hopefully next time Matt will have some better dice rolls and his Militia stand around and get some more shots off!

Monday, 4 November 2019

Stuart Asquith RIP

Earlier today I read on Battlegames of the sad passing of Stuart Asquith. Whilst his name may not be spoken of in quite the same terms of Featherstone or Grant, his contribution to the hobby is no less important and for me, personally, the encouragement to write for wargames magazines, starting with Practical Wargamer and my Glasnost and the Modern Wargamer article many moons ago when Stuart was editor.

Uniquely at the time Stuart was prepared to include fantasy and SF wargaming articles in his magazine, unlike the editors of Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated, unlike them Stuart regarded it as just another period played with toy soldiers, a sentiment I whole heartedly agreed with and Stuart kindly published a couple of Lord of the Rings themed articles I write for Practical Wargamer.

I only spoke to him on the phone a couple of times when he was editor, but he was always polite and helpful and his wisdom freely given. He has written copious books and articles and I shall be digging some out to re-read over the next few days...

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Haunted House!

SWMBO is a big fan of Hallowe'en, more so than Christmas, and the other week she had the bright idea of building up a Hallowe'en village, rather like those Christmas ones the Americans love. I recalled I had a cheap plaster building I'd bought from Hobbycraft many moons ago to see if it would be any good for gaming so dug it out and said if she liked it she could have it.

She did but insisted I painted it for her! :-)



A quick paint job by drybrushing over a black undercoat, it has come up nicely...



The hollow interior is painted orange so when you put a tealight inside it glows in a suitabley spooky fashion!



Sadly Hobbycraft have stopped producing these models and I can't find a UK source for any more (even Xmas ones I could convert), so it might be a case of scratch building the rest of the village with DAS type modelling clay.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Sharp Practice: The Culpeper Conspiracy

Too Fat Lardies' Sharp Practice is pretty popular down BIG, with regular French and Indian War events held on weekends. Whilst George and I have been happily testing out and tweaking Rebels and Patriots AWI games, we are open minded souls and when Andy said he was up for running a game for newbies, we jumped at the chance and roped in Steve with his newly painted Hessians... As I was trying to pay attention to Andy teaching us the rules I didn't take lots of photos.

George swapped his Tory sensibilities to side with the brave Whig rebels taking command of three units of State troops and one skirmish unit, whilst I had two units of Continentals and one of skirmishers. Steve had two units of Musketeers, two Guards and two Jaegers, both sides have one level 3 leader, one level 2 and two level 1. Both sides were given secret missions to complete, the Americans to rescue and escort a brave spy across the table.


My first deployment was the Contintentals, who started marching up the road, similarly Steve's Hessian Musketeers started up from the opposite side. Our next deployments brought on Skirmish units and second deployment points further up the table.


This allowed George to deploy his State troops close to the road junction and await the oncoming Hessian Musketeers...


Against who he launched a series of devastating volleys!


Inflicting casualties and Shock points on the cabbage chomping mercenaries, forcing them back. 

Off camera, George's skirmishers found the spy, we now had to escort him down the table - through the Hessians!


Meanwhile one of Steve's Jaeger units, whose heritage would one day clearly include the Brandenburg Kommando, rushed up the table using the building for cover and started pumping lead into the flank of the State troopers inflicting a casualty and some Shock.


My skirmishers tried to engage them and in a flurry of rifle fire both sides took Shock and my leader was knocked to the ground! 

Falling back the Kommandos, sorry Jaegers, chased the heroic American riflemen...


...and in a round of hand to hand combat, both units were badly mauled. After another round only the American leader remained but he managed to force the last few Jaegers to fall back into the arc of the (slowly advancing) Continentals who wiped them out.

At that point we had to call it a night but concluded that if we had played on the Americans would have likely won as Steve's Grenadiers had ended up with low ammo (so half firing effectiveness) and his Musketeers were badly mauled. With the Continentals and State troops still in good heart, they would most likely be able to protect George's skirmishers whilst they escorted the spy off the table.

This was a very different game to Rebels and Patriots, the most noticeable differences being the (much) longer weapons range and the lower number of casualties. As it was out first game I'm not sure if it would be as appreciably slower as this game was, given the learning curve, but there are more modifiers to consider on dice rolls. It was very helpful having Andy take us through the rules, as we'd all been a tad confused reading the rulebook!

Overall an enjoyable experience, we all enjoyed the game and have picked up sets of poker chips and tokens from Lardies for future games...

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Rebels and Patriots: 1st Continental Artillery

The last in my current painting batch for my American Rebels and Patriots army for Guildford Courthouse is this Perry Miniatures 3 pounder with crew...


Unfortunately this was case of the usual wargamer 'ooh shiny' disease hitting as I saw the model on Perry's website and just had to have it, forgetting the 1st Continental Artillery at Guildford Courthouse had 6 pounders. Oh well, I'll just have to buy one of those too! :-)

In the background you can see 'Molly Parker' who comes with the Warlord AWI artillery set and kindly donated to the rebel cause by Steve Weekes.


Friday, 11 October 2019

Rebels and Patriots: Virginia Rifle Corps

Another eighteen infantry painted for Rebels and Patriots, though 2/3 of them saw their first action in a game of Sharp Practice earlier this week. From a Rebels and Patriots perspective they will be classed a Light Infantry, in a few test games we've played neither George or I felt that the Skirmish classification rules worked in a suitable fashion for the C18th and the one time we had a Sharpshooter unit on the table it was like facing an MG42! :-)


As to what unit at Guildford Courthouse these guys are I'm not 100% sure. Initially the idea was to have some units of Virginian Rifle Corp Skirmishers but I need to have a think about it, perhaps they could be split into Light Infantry small units. Something to ponder...

As previous the figures are a mix of Perry plastics and metals and some Foundry metals, block painted and dipped...

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Rebels and Patriots: 2nd Maryland Continentals

Having painted three units of Militia for Rebels and Patriots, I decided to concentrate on a second Continental Army unit to go with the 1st Maryland which I painted back in the July - the 2nd Maryland!


By 1781 Continental Army units were supposed to wear blue coats (and when I get around to the Virginia regiments they will be in blue like the 1st Maryland), but following the destruction of Gates' army at Camden in 1780 the remnants of the seven Maryland line regiments which fought there were reconstituted, just before Guildford Courthouse, as the 1st Maryland Regiment and a new 2nd Maryland Regiment was raised, unusually for the time in brown coats (and unlike their namesakes from a year earlier at Camden who wore blue!).


I have read that the drummer should be painted in a blue coat with red facings but I am not 100% sure of that so went with the traditional reversed colours...

As previously I have block painted then dipped the figures in Army Painter Strong Tone dip, picking out the "white" straps in pale grey and adding some flesh highlights afterwards. It's not the neatest look, but suits my idea of troops on campaign in the field in the spring of 1781. The miniatures are all Perry plastics with a couple of Foundry metals and the flag is again is from Maverick Models.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Pikeman Rampant: Landsknecht Arquebusiers

Over the last four decades I've had a lingering fascination with Landsknechts! I'm not 100% sure why this is. It may have been the couple of excellent 25mm Landsknechts Citadel produced under licence from Ral Partha, or reading Tim Power's excellent fantasy The Drawing of the Dark set during the siege of Vienna in 1529, whatever 'Lead Mountain' does have rather a few bags and boxes of Foundry Landsknechts and the adjunct 'Plastic Spur' contains a number of boxes of old GW Imperial handgunners, crossbow and spear (awaiting conversion to pikes) - all sadly unpainted!

Until today...



These guys have been sat on the workbench for the best part of a decade half painted waiting for me to summon the courage to finish them. Painting Landsknecht's is a daunting prospect, all those stripes and slashed clothing and to be honest trying a three stage technique is these days probably beyond me... So, I pondered would Army Painter dip work?


Well having finished block painting these and then slopped Army Painter Strong Tone dip over them, I think the answer is yes. It gives a decent effect and was reasonably quick - once I'd got my head around Landsknecht clothing!

So what am I going to use them for? Well I am concentrating on the AWI at the moment (and hope to have another unit painted up this week) but am thinking about slowly building up a Pikeman Rampant army, painting up units alongside other projects. Pike Rampant you ask? have you missed an Osprey release? No, this is a set of free ruleset modifications and army lists from The Assault Group to allow you to use Lion Rampant and The Pikeman's Lament in the C16th. Given the fun I've had with other Rampant rulesets, this seems a logical choice to use some of the Landsknechts I've stockpiled over the years...

Sunday, 15 September 2019

The Men Who Would Be Kings: The Dancing Trumpet Sound and We Went Forth...

Back to the Sudan last week at BIG against Madhi George and a return to The Men Who Would Kings and a scenario we had not played from the rulebook - Just Passing By...

In this scenario equal size forces encounter each other as they advance across the board and fight a running engagement, the main aim being to get as many units off the board as possible in 15 turns, ideally without incurring any casualties.


The brave boys in Khaki comprised of the 66th (Berkshire) Foot, 92nd (Gordon) Highlanders, 15th (Ludhiana) Sikhs and band of motley Bazingers...


The Mahdists largely comprised of guys with sharp stabby sticks, though they did have a couple of units of those pesky riflemen that always cause me a problem...


Given I have to order my troops to move whereas Native troops can move for free in TMWWBK, George had an advantage in being able to get across and off the board (the object of the scenario) so I decided to focus on trying to stop him as my advantage is my units can Fire without being ordered to do so...

Slowly my units moved into position. Unfortunately the Sikhs refused for move for the first three turns, clearly deciding having some freshly cooked choley bhature for breakfast was more important than stopping the Mahdi! 


Mahdi George's battle plan unfolds... Engage the Imperial forces with his rifles whilst the Beja do a runner down the side of the battlefield...


Unfortunately the table wasn't quite wide enough for this, so George decided to attack the left flank of the Imperial line - the 92nd Highlanders, with a unit of stabby Beja. Unfortunately for him the 92nd had formed Close Order which negated his numbers advantage and in a blur of bayonets and spears, eight Beja fell along with five Highlanders. The Madhist unit was forced back and Pinned.


Six turns in the Sikhs had finished breakfast and now advanced to fill the gap in the line they had left...


Unfortunately our War Correspondent dozed off and missed the action for the next couple of moves, (dust in the camera is a rubbish excuse, always keep your equipment clean man!) but the Madhists exploited the gap managing to get three units through to safety, although the Sikhs did manage to inflict casualties on one which proved important in the end. Things would have been so different if the fierce Sikhs had got into position as planned on the left flank...

The Imperials did manage to get one complete unit across the board, but the Bazingers (too busy looting the dead Mahdist rifles no doubt) refused to evacuate the battlefield and the other Imperial units realising that they would not make it across the board in the remaining moves decided to polish off the remnants of the Mahdist army on the board.


Whilst the Imperials controlled the battlefield as turn 15 ended, that was not the object of the exercise so George totalled up the points... He managed to get three units off the table, two unscathed, and totalled 7 points. The Imperials got one unit off the table and had managed to destroy five Mahdist units - totalling 7 points... A draw!

Whilst on paper the scenario did not look that promising, probably the reason we have avoided it, it turned out to be quite fun and the failure of Imperial units to obey orders and move did provide much amusement for onlookers.

Playing TMWWBK again was fun, much as I like Rebels &Patriots and the fact in many respects it is a more subtle set, TMWWBK provides a game more akin to the Hollywood blockbusters like Zulu and The Four Feathers and there is nothing wrong with that!

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Rebels & Patriots: Tell Them Where We Died...

Back to the North-West Frontier down BIG with George and I deciding to use Rebels and Patriots again, but picking one of the scenarios from The Men Who Would Be Kings - Seek and Destroy!

Part of George's Pathan force set up in a village, which the Imperial force was tasked to destroy before Pathan reinforcements descended from the hills...


The Imperial Field Force comprised of the 92nd (Gordon) Highlanders, 15th Sikhs, 13th Bengal Lancers and the newly painted 4th Gurkha Rifles. 

No, I don't know why I didn't take any artillery...


As the Imperials slowly advance on the village, the call went out and Pathans from neighbouring valleys rushed to the aid of the beleaguered villagers...


As the Imperials advanced they came under fire from a unit of Pathan Light Infantry on their flank.... 


Inflicting a couple of casualties on the 92nd Highlanders, although losing one of their own...


The Bengal Lancers rashly decide to deal with the pesky rifles and Charge them, losing two lancers and gaining a Disordered marker!


The Pathans decided to shoot at the Disordered lancers but George failed the activation test rolling a Double 1, necessitating a roll on the Fumble table... 

Would the Pathans retreat? 

Would they become Disordered themselves?

George rolls a 4... Charge!!! WTF?! The Pathans charge into the Disordered Lancers and whilst losing a couple of men wipe out the Bengal Lancers!

At this point I decided the Gods of Luck were not going to be with me tonight....


The 92nd Highlanders decide to avenge the Lancers and after a couple of turns of hand to hand combat wipe out the Pathans - They don't like it up 'em!


Meanwhile the Pathan reinforcements reach the outskirts of the village...


Whilst the 4th Gurkhas start shooting it out with the Pathans in the village...


The 15th Sikhs yell "Bole So Nihal!" and capture one of the buildings, wiping out the Pathans within...


And take possession of it. However they face Pathans to their front and flank with more arriving all the time...


Some bad dice rolling sees the 4th Gurkhas become Broken and then fail the Rally test badly and are Routed without a chance to wet their kurkis!


Under fire from three sides, the Sikhs become Disordered, then Broken...


And another bad Rally test sees them Rout!


With just the 92nd Highlanders on the field of play, the Imperial commander concedes defeat and retires to Peshawar for a gin and tonic and a severe dressing down...


Well that was an unmitigated disaster!

I'm not sure why I decided to forgo including some artillery in my Field Force, but that meant my infantry had to clear out the Pathans in the village and whilst the Sikhs took one building, the Gurkhas did nothing (the curse of the newly painted unit) and the Highlanders got side tracked by the Pathans in the hills. I had intended to save the Lancers to take out some of the reinforcing Ghazi Tribal Infantry but wasted them trying to disperse the pesky rifles on the flank.

Some better dice rolling might have taken the edge off the defeat, but even if the Sikhs and Gurkhas hadn't routed (and the Lancers not got charged whilst Disordered) the time limit on the scenario to destroy the buildings given the speed the Pathan reinforcements arrived meant that I would not have managed to destroy enough buildings in time.

The game does play differently with Rebels and Patriots rather than The Men Who Would Be Kings, and with an eye on the First Afghan War it is a definitely better set for earlier colonial warfare, TMWWBK probably being better for the 1870's onwards, especially against stabby native armies like Madhists and Zulus. That said I think the Morale and Disorder rules from R&P is better than the Pinning mechanism in TMWWBK and it might be worth porting it across to see what difference it makes...