EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cobb's Farm - Set Up

The morning mist rises and consternation reigns in the Union camp as the long roll sounds: "Fall In!".

Its been a while since I played a full wargame and the arrival of ACW reinforcements coupled with the rainy, windy weather brought to us by the edges of the  ex-tropical storm formerly known as  Hurricane Sandy seemed like an opportune time to remedy that. There are some of Grant's scenarios that scale up fairly well with Brigades as units but none of them seemed quite what I was looking for. Then I remembered that I had some scenarios from old Couriers.  These were written by Paul Koch for On To Richmond (OTR) but were about the right level for what I wanted. One in particular came to mind though it may well be in excess of 20 years since I last played it and at that it might have been played with 15mm Napoleonics.

I hope Dick will bless or at least forgive this breach of copyright but I thought there might be others who would enjoy basing a game on this.

Extract from the Courier Magazine. Issue unknown,
(you will have probably have to right click on the image and open it in a separate tab in order to make it big enough to read.)

The map is based on a 6' x 8' table. I have a temporary, unpainted extension making mine 5'x7'. Since the original map was roughly 5" x 7", I just took as it was. Since my extension is unpainted I more or less had to use one of my cloths so I went for the fall/winter one with a river painted on. Its not quite right but close enough to get the gist. I thought about bare trees with a touch of autumn foliage but ended up just sticking the usual on. Its plain that my 2 feet of new fencing is lost on the table. 6 feet was way too little as a target. I'll need double that but can find some variety by using post and rail which appears to have been more common out west as well as some snake fences with the big X  supports like Jeff had on his blog a couple of years ago.  I also need to figure out what to do about buildings. Only a few civil war field battles involved street fighting but many saw fighting around farms and other isolated buildings. At the ground scale of HofT such a farm including house, barn and outbuildings should occupy an area of no more than around 2 square inches. Even a small HO farmhouse will usually occupy at least twice this if not four times it and to treat the whole as equivalent to a European town would be to exaggerate its importance while to use houses that under scale would look odd. I am considering two options; place houses that look good and treat them as visual only or make houses that have a slightly too big footprint and exaggerated height and ignore the distortion. If I enjoyed making scenery there would be no hesitation. For now I'll use what I have and allow a garrison of 1 stand.

The scenario calls for brigades of 6 Federal or 8 Confederate stands. I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of OTR last year and stupid enough to lose it somewhere on my computer. A complete mystery though there is a slight fear that I only viewed it as an attachment and forgot to save it in which case Google/Gmail would have archived it in file 13 along with the email. Or it is filed on my hard drive like I thought and its a search criteria and misfiling issue.  Sighhh. (** update I found my copy from Ed and have received a replacement from a reader.) Anyway, to convert to HofT I decide to double the number of stands and divide into standard regiments. So seven Reb brigades became 28 regiments or 112 stands of infantry. Guess what, there were actually enough troops when the recent reinforcements were counted, if I fixed all the bases that had shed units and reorganized them, but they wouldn't fit. The 1st Division stretched out along the road reached all the way to the board edge leaving the 2nd Division in limbo and the 1st Union Division line of battle stretched from road to river with a reserve. Hmm

As I stared at the masses, I started wondering how  I was going to track hits and morale on 27 infantry and 8 artillery units not to mention tracking 10 commanders. Hmm

There was a temptation to back out and go with brigades as units but my intention was that HofT could handle a Corps sized battle as a full 5-6 hour game and it didn't seem right to give up without trying and one of my goals was to play a full size solo game this year. As a compromise I reduced the multiplier to 1.5 giving me 12 stand Reb and 9 stand Union brigades. This turned into 3x3 Yankee regiments and 3x4 Reb. I could as easily gone with 4x3 Reb regiments but my own were organized as 4's, that was all the flags I had and anyway I wanted to see the difference in action between fewer large units and a larger number of small ones.  I'll probably leave the game up and delay playing until Friday or maybe Saturday and see if I can't work a bit on flags, command stands, terrain and admin aids like order markers.


 
Looking West along the Sudley Road. 


This does raise an interesting quandry though. I'm not finished painting but I now have more troops than will fit on my table and I can't expand the table by much. Originally I planned to put 6 figures in 2 ranks on  40mm x 40mm bases but decided that the thinner lines resulting from 4x1figures on 40mm x 30mm bases looked more civil war-ish. Then I promised Jerry that the decision was final. Well, if I did squeeze 6 or 8 figures onto each base and used 3 bases which is about right for 450 men, then I could use every one, paint more and still fit them on a table. Oh, errr, Jerry, did I say?.....  Well after all, a base is a base right?          

Ok so I did manage to reduce this game to about 800 figures instead of a 1,000 figures, did I mention that this was originally supposed to be a minor side project?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Give me table lots of table underneath the ceiling light above

A little over  a year ago I cut up some matchsticks to make ACW fences and soaked them in a wash of black paint. As I started thinking abut an ACW  scenario to play, it occurred to me that this might be a good time to glue the bits together and dry brush them.

Acting, as usual, without  a real plan, i started gluing matchsticks together in 6" lengths. When they got to three rails high it felt about right. Needless to say, I didn't actually check this until I was done.

 One of the new figures was this officer of the Washington Artillery who had had his base removed. 


Turns out it was right for a 1/72nd figure without a base or whose base was sunk in a diorama but with a base glued to a larger group base, the fences look a little short. One option would be to base the fence pieces but then its harder to put the sections together and the troops can't  get close. One section had been made with all short sticks and I had enough left over to raise this to 4 rails which looks too many but the height is right for the bases. I'm out of the longer type of match stick but I think I can get away with  just jacking up the other pieces so that the bottom rail is off the ground.


What a difference 2 bases make. The Union officer behind the fence is mounted on a wooden base.

So that's two feet of fencing done and four to go, or is that forty? In the end it was easy enough but every bit as tedious as I remember. There is a lot to be said for only playing in 1 scale, not to mention the benefits of fighting in deserts.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rally Around the Flag Indeed

A week or so ago Rob from the Captain's Blog offered me some Airfix ACW he'd gotten through Joseph. Despite previous comments on said bog about Greeks and Gifts I eagerly accepted his offer and this morning I took delivery via another friend, Mike (see http://hikingnovascotia.blogspot.ca/ author of various books on hiking trails amongst other things).  

I have to admit, while anything was welcome, I was especially hoping there would be at least a pair of guns.


OK, got that covered then.

 and cavalry.

and infantry.

OK when Rob said "a box" I wasn't picturing something like 500 figures including some conversions and special uniforms. The forces for the Hants County vs King's County ACW Anapoloosa Valley campaign have just doubled, tripled in terms of artillery. Ample figures to share with Jerry.  

I haven't had time to sort it all but it looks like mostly Airfix including a few cowboys but also a few compatible metals. I'll have to sort out the metals, check catalogues and blogs, take a magnifying glass to the bases etc (and maybe request help) to verify their origin  but I suspect at least some Jacklex, looks like it might have been a box of samples.  Whoever they are, I quite like a number of them.

The basing isn't an exact match but is close enough that I hope to get some of these lads on the table within a week.   

Thanks Rob & Joseph & Michael and .whoever else was involved.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Into the Sunset

Last Train game, honest. For this week anyway.

Rakub Khan leads his cavalry against the rear of the second train.

Having taken over the train, I switched out the units placing a field gun on the rear car, a naval gatling on the front and bringing in the 60th to replace the Ghurkas and Sikhs to replace the Fusiliers,  My plan was to avoid fighting and clear the barricade as quickly as possible and make my escape. The first few turns went pretty much as planned, once again I drew the reinforcement card and was blessed with a troop of Bengal Lancers who helped clear the way as did another Ammo card which sent one of the Afghan tribes back out of harms way. The Sikhs dismounted and cleared the blockade as Rakub Khan and his cavalry attacked the gun on the back. The gunners put up a deplorable fight but eventually the train pulled away with Rakub Khan in hot pursuit.
 Driver move ahead!

For a while it looked like I might get away with casualties but without losing any units. However, the lancers got caught by a new assault by tribesmen were wiped out and I realized that two of my infantry  units were being left behind!  

Driver! Hold up!

If things were desperate I could have ordered the Sikhs and Rifles to form a rearguard and march home while I went off with the train but I didn't think it would look good in the papers especially if they got cut up but even if they didn't. So I ordered the train to halt,  sounded Recall, on the Double (Forced March card) then dismounted with my last platoon to help clear the way for them.  


It was nip and tuck. The relentless Rakub Khan kept at the gun until the last gunner  was hit and his infantry boarded the train in the middle and caused heavy casualties to the Rifles as they rushed back. It was crisis time but I led a charge that drove off the tribesmen and the Rifles rallied and shot down the cavalry leaving Rakub Khan to wave his tulwar in defiance as the train slowly regained speed.

Meanwhile, back at the station

The British roll off the train at the first sight of Afghans.
Ron's Ral Parthas and Minifigs on his Hexon terrain.

Last Wednesday Ron & I had the British and Afghans out again. Not being totally sated with trains yet, I had suggested a train scenario. Ron obligingly ripped apart his daughter's train set and converted 2 cars to armoured troop carriers (in his defence she's living in a different hemisphere and its been in the cupboard for close to 20 years). The rules were once again Battlecry with our own stats for the Afghans (3/2/1 with the option on a flag to retreat a full move instead of 1 hex) The train started at speed 4 and would move at its current speed each turn without any card being needed however a card could be used to accelerate or decelerate by 2. If moving speed 1 troops could disembark as per the scenario. Because the CS Grant scenarios don't always line up well with the left center right thing, we ruled that if you did not have any units in a sector then cards for that sector could be converted to an "on the move" card similar to the new Memoir44 deck. In this case the card could be used to move a unit in any sector but not attack. Due to the small size of the game we decided to play to 5 units/leaders destroyed or the British existing the far side by train.

In the way I am coming to expect, I was dealt a sniped card in my intitial hand so the game started with a pot shot by a lone Afghan  aimed near the British commander. As the train began to slow,  Makpha Khan appeared out of nowhere at the head of his cavalry and made a dash at a train mounted mountain gun. The British responded by shooting 1 Afghan horseman and disembarking all of the infantry.

The British build sangars while more tribesmen appear and rush the mountain gun.

I popped up a few tribesmen on the far side, hoping to draw Ron's attention. In a surprise move, he built sangars. This was a choice dictated by a Build Fortification card and a lack of movement cards but in the end it worked well. My plan had been to lure his units into the open and picked them off but instead any move would be against fortified firepower.  The obvious course was to pull back all of my units into cover and wait.

Makpha Khan leads another tribe to its fate.

Yeah, you're right, patience is not my strong suit. I played an Ammo Shortage card and invited the British Commander and the attached unit of infantry to retire for tea while I attacked the train.

The Red Turban tribe managed to capture the artillery wagon and began a prolonged fight with some Gurkhas supported by a platoon of Fusiliers. A fight which ended when the Fusiliers stormed the captured wagon with the bayonet. A second dash at the gun had resulted in the destruction of my cavalry but a reinforcement of infantry showed up and I led the White turbans forward into the gap.

They're back! Makpha Khan leads a last desperate attack. 

When launching a combined assault in a Battlecry/C&C type game, it pays to have at least some of the right cards before you start, counting on picking them up as you go is like planning to never fail an activation roll. So, my assault sputtered and fizzed as one unit at a time crept forward and got shot up. For a while the battlefield grew quiet.

At last I managed to organize my tribesmen into something like an assault but by then Ron and his 3rd company was back in his sangar on the hill over looking the train. Makpha Khan managed to destroy the remnants of the Ghurka platoon but moments later the 3rd unit of the day was shot out from under him. He headed back towards the last unit but from the way they were muttering "Inshallah", fingering their jezzails and eyeing him darkly, he decided to let the British pass.

It was one of those games where when attacking artillery, I rolled buckets of infantry symbols but when fighting infantry, only artillery seemed to come up but as usual, tactics and choices ruled the day not dice. It had been a fun game, closer than the 5:2 result suggested and had taken us barely 2 hours to set up and play. The afternoon was only 1/2 spent so we changed sides but that's another story.    .

Monday, October 22, 2012

Return to Checkpoint Frankie

If at first, or second or third....

Major Herald, commander of A Company of the Green Helmets was determined that his men could take out Check Point Frankie once his men had rested and refit. His superiors weren't quite so sure and the next morning he found himself reduced to 11 Platoon Commander while Captain Crescent was elevated to Company Commander. He promptly called for fire support from the Divisional 155 battery but what news photos show look suspiciously like old 25 pounders which may explain their lack of effect.

Captain Crescent sent 11 Platoon up the right to take out the town while 12 Platoon laid down fire support along with the mortars. Unfortunately the radio kept jamming (poor orders dice) and the artillery proved completely unable to suppress the enemy bunkers let alone destroy them while the enemy mortars appeared to be laser guided and their riflemen, apparently well trained in overwatch,  opened up at the first sight of a green helmet. (The red berets had incredible fire and orders dice all game) There was talk of bribery, subversion, international conspiracy, behind the scenes interference by multi-nationals, and so on but the main point was that the supply column still had not gotten through.

Once again Red holds the check point.

Over night the Internet buzzed and the media raged at the need for supplies to get through. At last the UN relented and while they were unwilling to supply troops, they did loan the Green Helmets  two M113 troop carriers. These were unarmed and lightly armoured but they just might get two sections across the killing zone.

 Two sections of 12 platoons clamber on board the M113's before being directed to the rear doors.

All was set, again there radio problems, no doubt made worse by the need to translate for the M113 crew and again the artillery was useless but at least the Red Beret mortars seemed to be off their mark. At last, tired of waiting, Lt. O. Crescent. in command of 12 Platoon, led his carrier forward without waiting for orders from his cousin.
The carriers roll on. The red disks indicate units on over watch. 
As the carrier rolled forward on its own, Crescent decided to pull up just out of bazooka range and give the guns a few more minutes. Red's mortar shells and small arms  rained down and one of the carriers was slightly damaged but at last the Green artillery found its mark. Heavy shells mingled with mortar rounds and the enemy platoon was wiped out despite a desperate attempt to rally. The carrier pulled forward to the barricade but before the section could dismount enemy infantry swarmed out of their bunker and attacked them in flank with grenades and point blank fire. Surviving the assault, the section dismounted into a clear area while calling in fire on the Reds now out in the open despite the risk to adjacent friendly units. The Reds soon retreated into their bunker.

The Green Helmets were barely out of their carrier when yet another Red Beret squad counterattacked out of the town and in fierce hand to hand combat was wiped out in short order being too stubborn to retreat  (or too stupid to remember that rule).  The lead carrier pulled back as the next section of 12 platoon raced forward and debussed. They were ordered to finish off the redoubt while Lt Cresecnt led the remnants of his 1st section into the town where Major Airfix's HQ was still holding out. In minutes the battle was over and the road was open.

Deadly assault by the Green Helmets in their carriers.

_______________________________________________________________________

So ended the struggle to open a road through Checkpoint Freddie. Is there a ceasefire in the making or will the struggle go on?  Its hard to say. None of these games took more than 15 or so minutes but all 4 games were fun. The dice, rather suspiciously heavily favoured red in all 4 games despite the same dice being used for both sides. It didn't start to level out till the last few turns of the last game when luck turned sharply. Further Red Green games (uh oh Red Green was a Canadian comedy TV show, now I'm thinking "If you can't be young at least you can be immature", words to live by)  call for some work on troops, scenery and background. 

However, on Thursday I once again go on unassisted Elder/Hound care duties which means more time downstairs and less time in my games room. It is no coincidence that this gridded cloth was designed to fit on my mother's old card table which I just happen to have set up in the TV/wreck room where the dogs and I hang out. Hats of Tin, (sorry Steel Helmets is the official title, that may be a struggle) and Roscia vs Naryatria, the Russian Civil War or maybe even the Red Berets vs the Green Helmets just might re-emerge on Thursday. 


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Check Point Frankie

Ok so apparently these guys are't part of NATO. Without any clear starting point yesterday, I pulled out  figures and terrain and sort of let them sort themselves and suggest something. What it developed into was a check point along a road with a convoy of trucks that needs to pass through. Since I hadn't got as far as doing opposing forces, I needed some way to break them down. Red Berets vs Helmets seemed the most obvious mark. A quick count showed that the Beret's were in the minority so they were the obvious candidates to defend. Divided into 2 figure "units" that gave a Commander, a Mortar and 3 infantry  defending against an A/T gun, mortar, commander and 6 infantry, which is where we found ourselves yesterday. Some how the Red Berets became the forces of Order and the Greater Good while the Greens are the champions of Liberty and Freedom.

Set up for the Modern Portable Wargame. 
 

I really enjoyed Bob's Memory of Modern  Battle  rules when I gave them a try last year as well as enjoying a number of games using various versions of the  Portable Wargames. Looking at the newest Modern Portable Wargame, I realized that some of the changes Bob had made since the original didn't appeal to me and that the ranges and moves might look out of place with the situation and figures that I had set up but I decided to go ahead since I have been wrong before. about how rules play vs how they read and I didn't relish resetting a scenario.  About ten turns and ten minutes later, the game was over.  I think I was right about the mismatch between rules and scenario.

That said, there were a number of things that I liked better about MoMBat. I much prefer the attrition system and I absolutely don't like the saving throw approach to combat where a unit throws to survive even if it it what Morschauser originally used. Partly that is just my way of thinking, but it is also that the danger to a unit is totally dependent on what it is. For example a cavalry unit is in as much danger from attacking a wagon in the flank as it is from charging a machine gun frontally. It may be more likely to win the combat but the danger is the same. This is a valid design choice since over all the better combat troops will tend to survive and thus win but it's one that doesn't suit my tastes.

Another thing I had trouble with is the comparative deadliness of shooting vs close combat. For example an infantry unit that is in cover has a 1/6 risk of being hit in close combat but a 1/3rd risk if shot at by infantry (5,6 basic +1 because infantry is always halted when firing, -1 for cover). If the shooting unit has an adjacent commander, the odds of a hit go up to 50%, if the target infantry is adjacent to a commander it becomes invulnerable to frontal assault but there is no change to its vulnerability to shooting. Unfortunately for Red, Green figured this out, unfortunately for Green they only figured it out after taking heavy losses trying to creep around and hit red in the flank. The end was a draw with both sides at 50%.

So, it was time to reset and try a different rule set.

My first thought was to go back and try MoMBat but Memoir44 was also an option. Then I remembered that I had been working on something inspired by the Portable Wargame but heavily influenced by Hearts of Tin crossed with the ACW Hex rules I was working on.  I buffed it up a bit (rough draft just posted as a blog entry), relaid the game, adjusting the terrain slightly and brought up reinforcements to make 3 man units and adding 2 platoon commanders fro Green, each with a single free order.

Essentially the game involved rolling for the number of "orders" with each allowing a unit to move, shoot, assault, rally or go into overwatch. Units being assaulted fight back without orders. Regular units can take 3 hits and if receiving more than one can convert the extras for retreats.  

 . The Second or Hats of Tin game: The carnage after the assault. The road is still blocked. 

Green followed the same rough attack plan, fire support from gun and mortar combined with an infantry assault on the flank. Even though the gun could hit from most of the way across the table, the mortar and gun were too light to do more than keep their heads down (occasional hits followed by rallying instead of shooting). Having the mortar fire fire from cover aided by a spotter also tied down the spotter, should have used a commander. The infantry attack was caught in the open as it struggled across the wire and cut to pieces but a second wave made it through and took out the enemy redoubt. At this point the Greens had lost 2 platoon commanders and 3 sections while the Reds had lost 1 infantry section. Since the goal was to get a convoy down the road. Green was still at square one but without any advantage in numbers. The company commander recalled his men and fell back, swearing to concentrate his forces and focus on the objective next time. He might call for some heavier artillery too!

I'll try for a more explicit report on the next test game and then perhaps switch to the RCW using the full table.



Hats of Tin (amended 22 Oct)

Helmets of Steel
A Rough Draft of a simple set of rules for 20thC  wargames fought on a grid.
Inspired by Bob Cordery's Portable Wargame but based on The Hexed General 
Oct 22 amendments in red italics

A few assumptions: Time is variable, minor or ineffective activities are happening but not shown, for example cavalry is assumed to dismount to shoot and mount to move.  Units are platoons or companies of old fashioned rifle troops or sections or platoons of troops with automatic weapons. Armour and weight of gun is relative to period. Superior fire is relative. Could include such things as assault engineers with flamethrowers when assaulting, infantry with extra automatic weapons, infantry with effective A/T weapons assaulting or being assaulted by tanks, artillery or tanks with superior ammunition, optics or training and so on.

Figure losses indicate unit effectiveness level rather than casualties.
All measurements are through sides not corners.

Stacking limit is 1 unit per area after movement. Troops who are adjacent to a truck or boat may embark and are then removed. Troops being carried may disembark onto an empty area. Troops being carried do not normally shoot or assault unless in a specialized fighting carrier. Commanders are not units and may stack or attach with any unit .

Turn Sequence is IGO UGO determined at start of game, usually attacker first or dice for it.

Orders. Roll 1d6 for the Force Commander to see how many units may be ordered. Each subordinate Commander may order 1 unit under his command in addition to the Force Commander's roll. Commanders do not need orders. A unit may be ordered to move OR shoot OR rally OR assault.OR go into overwatch.

Movement.
Units may move in any direction and face any direction after moving. Units may only move adjacent to known enemy if assaulting. A unit which is adjacent to an enemy may only move to an area which is not adjacent.
Infantry, infantry support and Heavy Tanks may move 2 areas. Difficult terrain counts as 2 areas.
Cavalry & Tanks move 3 areas. Difficult terrain counts as 3 areas.
Fast Tanks and Armoured cars move 4 areas. Difficult terrain counts as 3 areas for tanks and is impassible for Armoured cars.
Trucks and artillery move 2 areas and may not enter difficult terrain but each road area counts as 1/2 if following road.It costs 1/2 area to limber/unlimber or load/unload. Light guns may move 1 area without limbering and may enter difficult terrain if doing so.
Commanders move as type.

Difficult terrain is any terrain with woods, buildings, steep slopes, fordable river etc. A unit must have enough movement to enter so for example infantry that has moved 1 area may not then enter or cross difficult terrain. Roads negate terrain. Some terrain will provide cover and block LOS. This must be defined before the game. If the difficult terrain runs between two otherwise clear areas, for example if a stream runs between 2 areas, then the areas only count as difficult if moving across the obstacle. Barbed wire is difficult terrain which does not provide cover or block line of sight however it is destroyed by infantry or tanks that have crossed it. .

Shooting. A unit may pivot before firing.  Roll 2 dice die per unit except commanders roll only 1.
If a commander is attached he adds his fire to their's. Arc of fire is 45 degrees out front. The firer must have a line of sight to the target area except mortar and artillery may fire if there is a spotter who has line of sight. Both spotter and firer must get an order and neither may move.  They must both have radios or be connected by telephone. Line of sight is blocked by some terrain and by troops of either side. If firing against a target which is adjacent to a friendly unit, re-roll any misses against the friendly units

Overwatch.  A unit with an overwatch order does nothing during its turn but may shoot once during the enemy turn at a unit which is moving or which has fired. If it declines to do so when the enemy action is taken, it may not go back later and shoot at that unit. Overwatch shooting against an enemy unit may take place after it shoots or after it has moved at least one area.

Range: Infantry 3 areas,  MG, Light Gun 5 areas, Mortar, Lt Medium Gun. 6 areas, Heavy Gun 7 areas, Field artillery 20 areas.  Line of fire is blocked by terrain or troops of either side.

Effect. Each die scoring 5 or 6 after modifiers causes 1 hit on the target. .
Target modifiers: -1 vs cover. -1 vs lt armour, -2 vs medium armour, -3 vs heavy armour or pillbox.
Firer modifiers: +1 medium gun or superior firepower , +2 heavy gun, +1 infantry, cavalry or tank assaulting or being assaulted, +1 shooting or attacking from enemy flank or rear.

A regular unit is destroyed when it has accumulated 3 hits. Militia by 2, Elites by 4. If a unit takes more than 1 hit from a round of fire, they must take 1 hit but they may convert some or all of the remaining hits to retreats.  If so the unit will immediately retreat 1 move for each hit converted. Leaders are destroyed by 1 hit but if attached to the unit the owning player chooses where to put the hits.

Assaulting. If a unit moves adjacent to an enemy unit an assault must be resolved. The defending unit rolls first if the attacker is in their front arc otherwise they roll after the attacker. Use the shooting chart including assault modifiers where appropriate. If the defending unit retreats or is destroyed the assaulting unit must occupy the area that was assaulted. A unit which begins adjacent to the enemy does not have to be given an Assault order Troops in cover who launch an assault lose the benefit of their cover.

Rallying. A unit which has accumulated 1 or more hits and is not adjacent to an enemy may be ordered to rally. Roll 1 die. On a score of 5 or 6 1 hit is cancelled  +1 if a Commander attached. A unit which has been destroyed cannot rally.

Optional Rule. If both sides agree before the game, allow units that shoot with 1 less die than normal to move 1 area after firing regardless of type and terrain except that units still may not move into or across impassible terrain. This does not affect assaults. .

Additonal rules needed for to be added for aircraft, mines, engineering, trains, supplies, and more.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

And now for something

A little bit different. 

The Red Berets keep a sharp eye out for the dastardly Green Helmets.

Its been a long week with finishing the re-roofing of the shed, touching up paint on the house, stacking firewood and so on and now my wife has kindly shared some sort of bug she brought back from a dog show last weekend.  So I'm taking it easy, not even up for laying out  a full game of something but a week or so ago Bob Cordery dropped me a copy of the latest version of his Modern Portable Wargame and I was reading the accounts of littlejohn's plastic armymen in action  over at Lead Gardens,  and suddenly I thought about my small collection of Crescent, Herald and Lone Star figures which haven't seen action since Jerry, Lawrence and I played a few games of Chain Reaction II back in 2003? ish? hmmmmm

The brave Green Helmets take up their attack positions.

The B.A.T.(Battalion Anti-Tank) gun by Britain's and a few of the Crescent figures are my old toys from 50+ years ago (ok ok technically the Crescents were my brothers, I had the 56mm version but......), the rest of the figures, apart from a few Airfix,  are Crescent, Herald or Lone Star that I picked up around the turn of the century in a fit of nostalgia. Many of the accessories are from Dollar store bags of toys,. The mat is an off cut of the cloth I did for Huzzah. At the last minute before leaving, I decided to take along a Portable RCW game and set about making alternating squares in 3 shades of green and brown using what was closest to hand. Not a total success, the colours are wrong and it won't lie flat but the idea is, I think, sound.

More tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Blue River Rebellion: Incident at Rhed Station

Train hold up! More trouble in the Blue River Valley? 
_____________________________________________________________________________

The Government announcement last month that the Blue River Rebellion had been laid to rest appears to have been premature. Word has been received of a bold ambush of a train near Rhed Station half way between Belmont and Brooklyn. Is this the start of a renewed outbreak?

Our correspondent has filed this report of the incident.

The Fusiliers and Sappers debark from the train at the first sign of trouble.

It was about ten after five when we approached Rhed Station. Thats almost 15 minutes late. Wouldn't have been tolerated under the old director but what with the unrest and a train full of armed soldiers we do what we can. As we came around the big bend just north of the station, we could see something on the track. Looked like a tree blown down but as we began to slow an alert soldier spotted rebels in the woods south of the station.  We hit the brakes and the redcoats went over the side. Soldiers to the right, pioneers with their tools to the left.

Pikes front!

The Rebels came pouring out of the woods, yelling like fiends. A volley from the soldiers bowled over great numbers but they came on anyway. Suddenly a burst of musket fire announced that more Rebels had been hidden up at the station and on the hill to the east.

The Pioneers regroup on the safe side of the train while the Fusiliers drive off the rebel pikemen after a surprisingly  hard fight.

There were some tense moments but the soldiers drove off the pikemen and held the enemy sharpshooters at bay while the axe men set to work on the felled tree. That Colonel MacEachern, the Engineer, he seemed to be every where ordering troops about, directing the work, all heedless of the bullets flying about his head.

 The Pioneers are equipped for building bridges but set to work clearing the track anyway.

At last the tree was dragged off the rails and we were told to move ahead. I thought the troops would clear out the rebels but they all climbed on board as we picked up speed. After all that, a bullet finally found the Colonel, laying him low with a nasty wound. The train was packed with wounded and dying soldiers and we waited for no more orders but got up a good head of steam and headed for Belmont Station. After all, rebellion or no, the Queen's Mail has to move.


A parting shot takes down the Colonel commanding the Queen's forces but the train moves out anyway.

(3+ on a control check)

Its not my fault


There I was digging out my 54mm Arabs and contemplating a hex-less, cardless, ordinary d6 variant of Battlecry when some one (you know who you are) said "train". Suddenly, MacDuff and a trainload of Faraway Fusiliers was making its way through the Blue River Valley.The playing cards mark the position of possible Rebel units.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Battle of Yawner's Farm

I had been thinking in terms of a Colonial-ish teaser for the 40mm Faraway outing but with the table extension up and terrain laid out, I thought about an outstanding desire to check out Oberhilse & Faraway in the biggest pitched battle I could muster. Without drafting any S&S figures, that came to a Blue army of 6 infantry, 2 light infantry, 2 cavalry and 3 guns defending against 6 infantry, 2 light infantry, 4 cavalry and 3 guns. In addition to the extra cavalry, Faraway had 4 elite units vs 1 and 2 extra brigadiers.  The game was set in the 1850's with all infantry being armed with muzzle loading rifles. Units were 20 infantry or 10 cavalry or light infantry or 1 gun though I ended up running much of the cavalry in 5 man squadrons.

The Red Queen's troops, many still in column on their Proto-shelf trays, advance onto the table.

By the time I had 1/2 the troops off the shelf and onto the table I was thinking, "wall to wall troops, no room to maneuver, no back story, no campaign context, no twists or surprises, no historical original to compare to, not even an opponent to match wits with!". In other words, my least favorite kind of wargame. But it was already Sunday afternoon and I was a bit dragged out for various non-wargaming reasons so I persevered. The good news is that the rules worked fine, well, not quite as good as Charge! for this sort of thing, but good enough and the game gave me lots to think about. 

 The skirmishers bicker while the Red Queen's army gets sorted before pressing the attack. The Blue Guard can be seen on stolen movement/shelf trays that will allow deployment in line or assault column.

So what happened? Well the pictures pretty well tell the story but Blue deployed with 2 guns and 4 regiments on the ridge, 2 in reserve, cavalry, pack gun and light troops on the left  Red deployed with 4 infantry .and 1 light infantry facing the ridge, 2 elite infantry in reserve, 2 guns supporting on the right, FTC cavalry and horse gun on the left, Queen's cavalry and rifles on the right

The first line goes in and a murderous close range fire fight ensues. 


The crochet in the line. The San Carlos and Lafayette Volunteers are under fire from infantry and horse artillery and are eventually broken by a series of charges by the DGBG and Lawson's Lancers. 

Gratuitous overview of the continued fighting along the ridge.  


To stop the murderous cannister the Dover Fusilers charged with the bayonet but were halted with a point blank blast and then, as Blue grabbed the initiative for the only time in the game, were broken by a second blast. In the center, the 1st Infantry moved forward to plug a gap while on the  flank the Blue Dragoons attempted to flank the Red line but were met by Red's cavalry and after a series of charge and counter charge were broken. 

The Blue Guard and 1st Infantry deploy to cover the retreat of the Oberhilse army. 

A couple of thoughts. 

Numbers of figures vs table & terrain

There are three main reasons to deploy as many figures as possible. (that's figures as opposed to units) The first is to have an excuse to paint them. The second reason is to conform to a set of rules that you are determined to use and the third is to create a spectacle but that really only holds if the terrain supports it rather than being merely practical and reasonably effective. For toy soldiers that can be properly stylized or by being fantastic in its own right.  

I'm happy with my terrain and the look of my games and have no ambition to go for the dioramic look but its not real spectacle so  to my mind, if say, half the number of figures, would provide as good or a better game then nothing would really be lost except past expectations that called for lots of figures for a "proper" game.  

Saturday's 1/72nd ACW game had about the same number of units (16 figures vs 20 figures) but due to the smaller size, looked more appropriate to the space and the terrain. Past smaller 40mm games representing smaller actions also felt more natural in their terrain, even on the smaller table. Keeping in mind that I want each of my various collections of figures to offer something different, that the largest teasers call for about 25% more units, and that several of the units used were borrowed from my 1812 collection or another army, I need to think a bit about scenarios and how I want to organize the regular Oberhilse & Faraway forces for upcoming Colonial games in Northern Atlantica. I think a test game using 1/2 units is in order. That would be easy to arrange and remain compatible with the 1812 organization and allow the full 20 man regiments for any pitched battles that arise, say in a campaign.  Another option would be to go for 6/12 man units for Atlantica calling them companies for typical teasers and battalions for pitched battles perhaps using 1/2 scale or deployed 1 deep.  

I also need to spend more time and effort on terrain in 2013, in particular on my none cloth terrain for the 40's.

Movement stands,  surroundings and table . 
I have slowly improvised stands for my infantry to get them to and from the shelf but they are not table ready in either shape or finish. That needs to be a priority for 2013. Luckily the same stands will work for the NQSYW armies so mass production can be considered. I also need to spend more time and energy this winter on surroundings. Less time painting figures and  much less in rules and basing, more on finishing painting my room, getting rid of junk, adding and organizing more shelves, expanding casualty holding areas and clearing the walkways to make it easier to move around the table.  The 5 ft x 8ft table is good but it is awkward to move around. I'm going to try a 5 ft x 7 ft and if it works, will make it permanent and round the edges so I don't catch myself on the corners.   
    
Game vs Wargame.
Once again interesting to compare the Battlecry "game" with this one which felt very much like a traditional 70's wargame. More on this down the road if I can sort things .  




Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cold as Ice

1/72nd ACW game using Hearts of Tin in full swing.

The first game this weekend was an impromptu play test using every 1/72nd ACW stand I could get my hand on. It was played in about 7 different sessions of varying length over Saturday afternoon, evening and Sunday morning perhaps a bit more than 2 hours if I'd gone straight at it. I am just going to give a very brief overview of the battle and then some thoughts and comments on the game.

  The Confederate commander, convinced he had a significantly superior force, attacked on converging roads the Union army which was stretched out along a ridge with 2 diverging LOC routes to protect.

The Rebs about to open fire as their 3 brigades converge.

In short order, three things became clear. The Reb commander had underestimated his advantage, it turned out to be less than 10%  (40 stands of infantry in 10 regiments + 4 guns, 1 sharpshooter and 2 cavalry vs 36 stands, 4 guns inc a 6 pdr, and 3 cavalry). The Union commander was not as stretched as was expected (oops mea culpa). Finally, the diverging LOC roads were close enough to make a central position capable of covering both (oops again). So the scenario became one of 1:1 assault. At least I hadn't let the Yanks dig in.

The Confederate plan was to throw all 3 Brigades against the Union right then roll up their line. It was hoped that the threat of more reinforcements would hold the Yankee right  in place but they cottoned on pretty quick. (Wasn't able to fool myself so I diced for it.). The end result was that 1 Reb Brigade was tied up holding back a Yankee counter attack while 2 more made the assault on the right.



The Union lines under pressure.

There was just enough weight behind the Confederate attack to break the Yankee center and just enough terrain on their left to slow the Union counter attack. Unfortunately, the Rebs had been struggling all day with cold combat dice and at the critical moment, their command dice went cold as well, just as they started to lose units and the Yankee command dice finally warmed up. While the Rebs  paused to rally broken units, and waste powder at long range, the 1st Yankee Brigade managed to rally 3 men and a dog and beat back a dash by the Reb cavalry then pull back their front line and bring up their own dismounted cavalry to form a new line almost on the board edge.  On their right the 3rd Brigade finally charged home and at the cost of their Brigadier broke the Mississipi Brigade despite their new flags.

The sad scene at the end of the day.

Some random observations:

1. Trying to apply pressure and make use of superior numbers with linear tactics relying on firepower is just as hard as it was in life. Result, a battle of attrition unless some can get clever and turn a flank. Massed attacks can supply weight but will take horrible casualties. Do you know how many rules I had to take out to get this stuff to finally work right?

 2. The rule that says routs have to be rallied before command points could be spent on other things worked just the way I had envisaged it helping the Reb attack to stall just as it was breaking through. Too bad that rule didn't actually get included! Damn! Oh well the Yanks also suffered from it earlier so perhaps it was a wash. (Now I can picture the flood of angry letters to the editor from Reb Officers about  why they would have won but....)  Possibly the scattered formations would have had some of the same effect as the string of "1's and 2's" that the Reb's rolled near the end wouldn't have allowed that much of a co-ordinated assault. No need to add any more rules I think so i'll let that one lie.

3. The skirmish line was useful. It slowed the Reb advance  but allowed them to wear down the enemy a little as they did.

4. The Reb infantry dice for shooting and melee were horrible! . Once within close range the Yanks shot the heck out of them. Typical sort of rolls. Six 6 dice for 4,5,6, Yanks 4 hits, Rebs 1 or 0 hits. Same dice, same thrower, all evened out over the game if you add both sides. That why we use dice I guess.

.5. Nice to have real artillery that can shoot across the table! Esp the rifled guns though the Napoleons are great at point blank canister range.

6. That canvas cloth is too stiff and heavy, it doesn't lie right over the bones of hills and due to unintended and changeable stiff wrinkles, is awkward to place terrain features on let alone troops. It also blocks access to the storage under the table that holds scenery, dice, markers  etc. Quite annoying really. My old, frayed  soft cloth was better if too small. The larger table was good though.

7. To make the game run smoother, I need more logistical preparation. Even the marked Reb stands got mixed up if the uniform or pose wasn't distinct and the dice hit markers wandered and there were never enough at hand. I also ended up with casualties stacked every where since I was backed into 1 corner of the table, the widow ledge filled up and it was too time consuming to negotiate my way around the table with each stand removed. There are solutions for all these things but the work needs to be done.



8. It was interesting to note the difference in feel between this game, not a large one by any means but some 350 figures in some 30 units representing some 10-12,000 men which essentially crawled  down the path it was set on quite early towards a final conclusion with some tension and some need for decision but not alot each turn with Friday's game of the same or slightly longer playing time with just over 100 figures in 20 units representing, maybe 1,000 where the excitement and action/reaction was constant. Also, no markers were needed in that game.



Right, Oberhilse has just occupied the ridge, I'd better go see what the Red Queen can muster to get them off it then re-read MacDuff, before the game instead of after.




Saturday, October 13, 2012

May I have the envelope please?

The final shot of yesterday's game. Only the Chieftain of the White Turban tribe is left standing.

Well, yesterday may not have been a great victory for Makpha Khan in his first action but he survived a long day of battle and by the time his tribesmen broke and ran it was too late for the British to march through the pass before dark. More than that it was a cracking game.  

This morning I set about flocking the last 50 washers. Got 30 done, bringing the total for the week to over 150 and hit the wall. In a desperate attempt to find something else of equal importance to do, I turned to Confederate flags. I know, I have an inkjet printer and have downloaded flags from Warflag on my hard drive but thinking about mucking about on my temperamental laptop getting the graphics program and printer to agree on the exact size I wanted and trying to get the colours solid enough, well, it just seemed easier to paint them even if the lines are a little ragged and the stars are a bit wonky. At an hour, it was probably quicker for me anyway.  


Now, the results of the poll are in. There was a worrisome 4 way tie last night, 2 votes a piece but by closing time we had a winner and a runner up.  In the meantime, while the 5'x6' table might have been adequate for my 40mm skirmishes, I figured the 1/72nd lads needed a little more room. So tonight, the runner up will appear on a 5'x8' table. .

Tomorrow, the Red Queen's army tries to take the Blue Army to the washers. (sic)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Did I say too many things at once?

Scruby '25mm' Mamlukes painted as Afghan Irregulars

Tomorrow I am heading to Ron's place to take on the mantle of Makpha Khan, the Rose of Kurram defending his tribal lands against the Raj. Having sold off all my 25mm Colonials a few years back, I cast about for something  to add to the game. Ron has Ral Partha Afghan tribemen but no cavalry  and I had some Scruby Mamlukes waiting for painting. They are slightly smaller than the Partha's but not a lot. In fact they are comfortably in between plastics and the Partha's and would fit with either. I mounted mine on some slightly larger horses to better match the Partha and Minifig cavalry they will have to face.

At first I wasn't too impressed with the figures but as I started animating and painting them I became quite enamoured of them.Simple but full of charm and easy to customize.  I can't help but think that they would match Jacklex quite well.   2 more pts towards a 1/72nd Colonial project vs a 40mm/54mm one.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kicking the tires on the Apple Cart

I've just finished flocking the washer bases on 120 40mm infantry & artillery and have glued the next 50 figures on their washers. (My hobby purchases for this 1/2 year now equate to 1 bottle of glue and 6.2 pounds of 5/8 flat washers). The Blue Dragoons and DCBG have had the exciting experience of riding their horses in pairs over the table saw then wheeling away to left and right as singles.

I've got 16 NQSYW figures sitting on the painting desk, 16 1/72nd Yankees, and two 40mm War of 1812 officers queued up beside them and a 54mm Zulu Induna checking out how much neater, handier and more stable 3/4" washers are than 1" x 2" cardboard bases. Suddenly, I finally got that dreaded feeling of doing too much at once. At least I feel like just about everyone is now sorted, lined up and marching slowly along towards their respective objectives.  Time for a break and a check to make sure the apple cart is steady and not about to be upset though one never really knows what lies around that bend in the road.



Last June I laid out a list of 6 things that I wanted to do in what was left of the year. I'm over 1/2 way through that time period so checking progress on that seemed like a good place to start..

1.  A "full" day battle.  Not yet but various armies are slowly getting organized. At this point, if I insert the 5ft x 2.5 ft piece of that "Not exactly plywood" stuff that my table is made of, and mix my 1812 & 1837 figures, a 40mm Atlantica game seems closest to ready though a small push on ACW would be an alternative. Mid-December is my target. I think the next step is to pick/design a scenario and see which collection would fit best and what needs to done in preparation.
 
2. Card Table/Game in a Box intro game.  Hmm sort of. I have a 1/72nd Russian Civil War wargame in a box, I'm just not sure about the subject as an intro. However, having sorted various rules, basing and organization issues, I am also in a position to drop a Dark Age, 1812 or ACW scenario on the table at a moment's notice not to mention various other historical options where I might need to stop and think for a few minutes on rules or borrow some troops and of course, various not quite historical options. So I'm counting this as done.

3. PBEM. Nope. Had to get things sorted and armies ready. Hopefully by December I can begin. I was thinking of something more than a mini-campaign but I think to get back in it I will go with something based on Scenario 52: "The Raid" from Scenarios for Wargames. 2 players a side I think to get me in practice. I'll have to confirm with 3 people who have already expressed an interest but anyone else who might be interested please drop me a line or leave a comment.

4. Finished/consistent looking Ancient or Medieval solo mini-campaign. Well, I now know what I want and can stage a game but its not as ready as I wanted and the mini-campaign is not yet really begun let alone finished. Two weeks though would suffice to get the Sassanid and Bactrian armies and the rules into shape and play a 3 small game mini-campaign so this should still happen, probably mid-late November. 

5. 40mm Toy Soldier Colonial game. I didn't define Colonial but I have done a 54mm Nku Khu game and a Faraway vs Brethren of the Coast + Atlantican allies game so I'm ticking  this box.

6. 1812 game standing by. There is lots to do, some replacing of small unstable bases by washers, more troops to add, etc but I'm content that I can drop one of several 1812 games on the table in short order.

So, I am calling it 3 done, 3 still in progress and most of 3 months to go. 

______________________________________________________________________________

What's not on the list? Well, the main thing is the late 19thC thing and the 54mm Toy Soldiers. I was thinking about trying Big Wars again but now that MacDuff is working I don't want to take the risk of visiting another rule set. A game with 12 man units of troops with breach-loaders might be in order though to see if existing rules & figures are a good base for scratching this itch.



The big question  then is what shall I play this weekend? I'm on Senior/Canine care duty so can't run into Halifax to play Napoleonics or undertake a major game but something I can play at for an hour here and an hour there  will be good. But Hearts of Tin or MacDuff? Time for a quick survey to help me decide. 
  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

And a game for a Day Off

Its the Thanksgiving Long Weekend here in the Great Red, Yellow, Brown and Green North. Unlike Cousin Johnathon we like to celebrate as soon as the harvest is in. Having recovered some what and it being a holiday I decided to act on my suggestion to replay Friday's game using With MacDuff to the Frontier since those are the rules I have selected for the Atlantica games.

 The opening shots are fired as the Blue army deploys.

As long as I was testing things, I decided to use as many singly based figures as possible. While exchanging units, I noticed that several of the ones I was using had been formed when I was thinking of 10/20 figures per unit so I decided to go with that. The forces ended up being:

Red fielded 1 Brigade with 2 x 20 Infantry (Fusiliers & Veterans), 1 x 10 Light Infantry divided into 2 5 man detachments and 1 field gun with 5 crew. 1 Brigade with 1x10 Irregular Lancers, 1 x 10 Dragoons. Blue fielded a Brigade under General Zinn with 2x20 Infantry, (2nd & 4th) 1 x10 Light Infantry, 1 Pack Artillery Light Gun, 1 Brigade under General St. John with 2 x 20 infantry (Blue Guards & Lafayette County Volunteers), 1 Brigade with 1 x 10 Irregular Cavalry, 1 x 10 Dragoons and 1 Steam Tractor light battery.

 The cavalry suffered from a  small error in designation, "historically" they all deserved a better rating. Since I am trying to differentiate these games from my War of 1812 games, I decided to follow up on a thought from last year and advance the date to the 1850's/60's with rifled muskets.

The plan was the same for both sides as in the HofT game.

The Bangor Boiler Company Steam Battery, belching  fire and smoke out both ends.

The first game started off well, it had that relaxed Toy Soldier feel that I was looking for. But after a couple of turns, things began to feel a bit off. The card sequencing works well for the sort of small actions I played in September and for confused situations but with this sort of open field encounter between organized armies it worked but it didn't feel quite right. That's why I used to officially endorse two play sequence systems. After some thought I switched over to dicing for Initiative. OK thats why I am play testing, its now confirmed that whatever  changes have taken place, both options still have a valid place.

As the game progressed I noticed a few other things that didn't feel right especially the move full and shoot but also the rally, melee casualties amongst cavalry and the melee resolution. For a moment I felt a shadow of disappointment if not downright despair but then I remembered that even though its been  a month,  in game terms, I had not only just resurrected and restructured the rules and that this was the first play test involving an encounter between regular armies but that I had proposed some changes after the last game that hadn't been fully tested yet, including the move full and shoot. It also occurred to me that with 10 man cavalry units perhaps I should form them 2 deep so that they can't lose more than 1/2 their figures in 1 round of melee. Oh. No change needed.

I then spent some time going over the reports and the  discussions after the last games and thinking about the original rules and some of the other things I've learned recently or, more accurately, had reinforced  about how simplifications and omissions  can help improve game flow while achieving the desired feel. Then I spent more time revising the play sequence, shoot & move, melee resolution and morale rules and then I reset the table and started again.

The basic impact of the changes are as follows:

  • units in command control will move if ordered while those out side might not, much like the original but with a simpler control chart since chance cards are supposed to look after that, 
  • units may move 1/2 and shoot but with a penalty, again as in the original while reaction fire is once again limited to Charge reactions,
  • there is no longer any melee resolution, units fight until they break or withdraw, I tried this with HofT and prefer the effect to sometimes wonky win/lose melee rules or post melee morale checks.
  • lastly, there are once again only  two morale states, good or broken and failure to rally a broken unit will see if retreat off table..    

 The action heats up in the final game as Blue's attack degenerates into  a firefight.

The resulting game was just what I had had in mind. It would fall into the smaller class of scenario and took me about 2 hours and what seemed like a lot of turns to play through. the largest game envisaged would have about 3 times the number of units, be hard put to fit on this table and should take a full 4 or 5 hours to play to a conclusion unless there was a time or turn limit.

Now, as to the game. On the left, Blue's infantry stalled in a firefight until first one then the other lead regiments broke. The Blue Guards charged the hill but with some deft dice rolling the Veterans came within a figure of breaking them. The Guards fell back, rallied and took up the firefight as the Lafeyette Volunteers also opened up. The Fusiliers came forward in response and along with the gun broke the Volunteers as well. On the other flank, a first cavalry attack by Blue  had been handily met and repulsed by the Red cavalry. At this point I was ready to call it but the 2nd & 4th Infantry had rallied well and were there to renew the fight. I decided to go the course.

The renewed firefight soon took a nasty course for Red. Having been under fire for a prolonged period with no relief, they were starting to look very shaky when heavy rifle fire broke the gun crew which pulled back to reorganize. At this point  a renewed assault by Blue's cavalry broke the Lancers and almost hit the Fusiliers in the flank. Victory was suddenly up in the air.

A timely initiative win allowed the Fusiliers to face the threat while the Lancers rallied. Colonel Flowerdew  at the head of the Princess Charlotte Dragoons swept away the Light Horse, chased off the Steam Battery and sweeping across the table,  over ran the pack gun and hit the flank of the 4th Infantry. The remaining blue infantry formed square covering the retreat of the 4th and driving off the now blown Dragoons but the squares were in rifle range of Red's infantry and moments later the whole army, now under Brigadier Zinn, the only unwounded Blue commander left on the field,  was heading for home with the tattered remnants of the Blueguard and Light Horse covering their retreat.  .
  Carnage after a close run thing. 
(Disclaimer: No toy soldiers were injured during the playing of this game).

Oh happy day! Atlantica is set. The 20/10 scheme is once again the official plan as are washers for bases and MacDuff for rules. Might have reached that conclusion 5 years ago to be honest if I hadn't been befuddled by organization and basing but then I would have missed the journey.