Sunday 29 October 2023

Never Mind The Billhooks: Mister 2 Billhooks 2023

Following on from May's Mr BIG Billhook 2023 event down Bristol Independent Gaming, yesterday saw a second Never Mind The Billhooks day at BIG - Mister 2 Billhooks 2023! Despite only having managed to get one Billhooks game in since the last event I took my Burgundians along for a day out...    

Game One: as in May my first game was against Lloyd and his Lancastrians, though this time he said he'd learnt his lesson and equipped his archers with stakes to protect them against my cavalry...

To counter the stakes I decided to load my right hand flank with all my cavalry to try and get behind.

Which Simon Le Bon and his new painted Coustilliers managed to - charging into the flank of one of the Lancastrian veteran bow and breaking it...

And then straight into a second breaking that one too! So much for the 'curse of the newly painted unit'!

Lloyd's luck was such that firing his cannon for the first time it inflicted three casualties on the Burgundians but blew up as it did so!

By overloading my right flank with cavalry it did leave my left somewhat exposed and Lloyd took advantage of this. His Hobilars bounced off my crossbow in their first attack, but subsequently polished them off.

Then my cannon exploded! It had though already inflicted a large number of casualties on the Lancastrians.

Whilst Simon Le Bon and his men finished off the second unit of Lancastrian bow...

Charles the Bold, utilising a special event card that allowed for a flank attack to which the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms and bill could not turn to face, charged in. Despite inflicting 15 hits, Lloyd managed to save all the hits on his Men-at-Arms and only lost two Billmen. The Gendarmes bounced off!

To add salt to the wound, the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms then charged in on the stunned Gendarmes, breaking them and almost routing them off the table (which would have secured Lloyd a victory as Charles the Bold, my army commander, was attached to them).

Fortunately Antoine de Bourgogne, the Bastard of Burgundy, came to the rescue charging his Gendarmes across the field of battle to break the bow and bill who were causing problems on the Burgundian left.

And then the true hero of the battle, Simon Le Bon, and his Coustilliers, finished off the remnants of the Lancastrian bow, winning the battle for Burgundy!

Game Two: my second game was against Nathan who had brought the most interesting army of the entire event - a Teutonic Crusader army comprising entirely of five squadrons of Knights! Faced with such a mobile army I decided to anchor of corner of the battlefield with the bulk of my army, use longbow, crossbow and cannon to whittle the Knights down, then unleash the Gendarmes - well that was the plan!

Blimey, those Knights were quick! My Handgunners picked off one but quickly go out of the way.

In a clash of heavy metal the Bastard of Burgundy, Antoine de Bourgogne, charged his Gendarmes in on a unit of Teutonic Knights besting them in the melee.

The cheeky Simon Le Bon, having fled a Teutonic charge, did a swift about turn and charged his Coustilliers in on the flank of a unit of Knights!

Massacring them! (apologies for the blurry photo, I was a bit shocked by this success).

Nathan tried to charge down the Burgundian light horse but Le Bon and his men managed to evade the Teutons - just!

On the Burgundian right Charles The Bold and his Gendarmes were charged by another group of enemy Knights and were forced back right to the table edge - another half inch and they would have been routed!

Philippe de Clèves though ordered the longbow in has ward to fire into the victorious Crusader Knights, the arrow storm breaking them and winning the battle for the Duchy of Burgundy!

Game Three: my final battle of the day was against Colin who brought along an Italian army which had some interesting technological advantages compared to armies from a slightly earlier period like my Burgundians - like a non-exploding cannon! Unfortunately I did not have such technology and my cannon exploded in the first turn!

We had erroneously used too many terrain items and the three areas of marsh in front of my army extremely limited its manoeuvrability. However my Handgunners managed to inflict notable casualties on the Italian Stradoits!

The surviving Italian Light Horse attempted to charge down the Burgundian skirmishers, but they managed to evade the Stardoits.

Despite his heroics in the previous two games, Simon Le Bon and his Cosutilliers had a mare. Having managed to get behind the Italians, they charged a unit of Arquebusiers in the rear and failed to inflict a single casualty, bouncing off!

The Burgundian Light Horse swiftly retreated back to their lines and with time having run out we called the battle as a no score draw (neither Colin or myself had lost a coin).

Overall, a great day of Billhooks gaming, against three different and challenging opponents. Thanks to Mike Peters for organising the event and Jim and Ellen at BIG for hosting it. If you have been intrigued by late medieval warfare but not dipped your toe in, I would heartily recommend Never Mind The Billhooks, especially with a couple of boxes of Perry Wars of the Roses or Hundred Years War plastics giving you the basis of a viable army.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Sharp Practice: Attacco ad un Obiettivo!

Following on from our recent Sharp Practice AWI game, Andy and I returned to the Napoleonic period with a game set in 1813 Germany using the Attack on an Objective scenario from the rulebook. I dusted off my Kingdom of Italy troops whilst Andy brought his new Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow to the table. The scenario was simple, the Italians had to capture the Freikorps HQ building, the Prussians had to stop them!

The Italians stole a march on the sleepy Prussians with Captaino Rossi leading an attack column of Fucilieri straight towards the enemy building!

With Sergente Altobelli and his Cacciatori a Cavallo scouting the Fucilieri's flank...

And discovering enemy forces - Sekondeleutnant Carsten Horst with his Freikorps Hussars!

This did not stop the arrival for more Italians, Tenente Baresi commanding the green-uniformed Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera and Primo Corporale Zoff leading the white-coated Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea...

With Tenente Baresi then deploying with a cannon of the Artiglieria a piedi.

However he soon found himself under fire from a group of Freikorps Volunteer Riflemen on a neighbouring hill commanded by Oberjäger Manfreid Mann!

Three Italian gunners fell dead to the accurate Freikorps fire.

The crack of rifle fire alerted the Prussians and Leutnant Hans Undnees swiftly deployed his Freikorps Musketeers in line to await the Italian attackers.

With a cry of Tally Ho! Sekondeleutnant Horst charged his Freikorps Hussars in on the Cacciatori a Cavallo...

Sergente Altobelli fell to a flashing Prussian blade and with two men lost on each side a second round of combat was fought...

Three more Cacciatori a Cavallo fell to the Prussian Hussars and the Italians broke, heading back to safety behind their infantry colleagues.

The battle had not started too well for the Italians, but it was far from lost! Tenente Baresi ordered his Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera to shoot at the Freikorps Volunteer Riflemen on the hill...

The Italian musket fire inflicting shock on Oberjäger Mann's men.

Elsewhere Primo Corporale Zoff  instructed his Volteggiatori to see off Carsten Horst and his Hussars...

Their first volley only inflicted some Shock...

But a second round of fire from the Volteggiatori...

Killed three Hussars...

Resulting in Sekondeleutnant Horst and the sole surviving man of his unit breaking and fleeing for safety.

On the Italian right Tenente Conte arrived on the battlefield with his Granatieri...

Whilst Tenente Tardelli fired his artillery piece!

Inflicting some Shock on the Freikorps musketeers.

Screened by the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera, Captaino Rossi ordered the Fucilieri attack column forward!

But what is this?! Fahnrich Rolf Undtumble commanding two groups of Tyrolean Jäger deployed into the woods on the Fucilieri's left!

Tenente Conte snapped his Granatieri into line and fired a volley at Manfreid Mann's Volunteer Riflemen...

Killing three and inflicting Shock on the survivors!

With the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera and Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea covering the attack column, Capitano Rossi and the Fucilieri bore down on the Freikorps.

In an attempt to stem the relentless Italian advance, Fahnrich Undtumble charged his Tyrolean Jäger in on the Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea!

Although the Italians are forced back with Primo Corporale Zoff knocked to the ground...

The Tyrolean Jäger paid a heavy price as both Fahnrich Rolf Undtumble and his subordinate Stefan Kuntz now lay dead on the field of battle!

Believing the Gods of War(gaming) to be favouring him, Capitano Rossi charged the Fucilieri in and although the attack column broke up (and a medic killed), two groups of Freikorps musketeers were beaten back.

The Fucilieri followed this up with a quick volley...

Breaking the Freikorps formation, one group running almost back as far as Berlin!

Whilst Leutnant Undnees hid behind a stone wall with the other group.

Tenente Baresi ordered the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera to charge the surviving Tyrolean Jäger, but came up short after the Jäger evaded.

Suddenly a pounding of hooves was heard as Sekondeleutnant Carsten Horst having taken charge of a group of Freikorps Mounted Jäger from Estandartenjunker Franz Fürzenmemories appeared out of the trees and charged the Italian Light Infantry!

But the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera were fleet of foot and managed to evade the German cavalry charge.

In the centre Feldwebel Willi Vinkle with the remaining two groups Freikorps Musketeers attempted to engage the Fucilieri in fisticuffs, but the German charge came up short...

The Fucilieri poured fire into the Freikorps and one group broke, breaking the formation. Tests on the Bad Things Happen table saw the German Force Morale plummet to zero handing victory to the brave troops of the Kingdom of Italy!

Another great game of Sharp Practice, it was good to get the Italians back on the table and inflict a defeat on andy's new Freikorps army!