Friday, May 20, 2022

Now Mahmud, Now's Your Time!

The 1790's West Indies game played last week was the sort of level of game that I had had in mind for my 40mm French Revolution games, low level actions between small forces. (What would have been called a skirmish back then, rather then the sort of 1:1 semi-role playing games that get called Skirmish games these days.)   Somehow, old habits had been starting to drag me back towards conventional wargame scenarios with battalions of men. Saved! and in the nick of time. 

The game also reminded me of one another setting that was an itch waiting to be scratched, Napoleon in Egypt. I had had my 15mm Turkish army and a few bags of 15mm Minifig French in Egypt castings but they never got painted and all are gone. Well, I'm not going to try and refight the Siege of Acre in 40mm but I would be quite happy to table an attack on an oasis or perhaps an attack on a smaller fortified port, complete with a landing party of sailors and marines, led by a young Midshipman or Lieutenant......  

These were some of my earliest sculpting and casting efforts, better as a learning experience than anything else, but they may finally get a chance to hit the table.

I had sculpted and cast an exploratory 40mm Turkish figure some 20 years ago for an early 16thC Landsknechts vs Turks game but it had a lot of problems and the whole thing was going to be be way too much work for too few games and it never got off the ground. A small, low level, Napoleon in Egypt, toy soldier game though, that I think I can do now. Work has started on replacing mis-cast bows with muskets for at least one unit of the old figures while I eye the PA Rosmach French Hussars as a basis for some Mamluke type cavalry and some 17thC Polish infantry and gunners as potential to be modified to some sort of toy Turkish irregulars! 

Monday, May 16, 2022

Its A Jungle Out There

Saturday being a glorious day with no obligations, I couldn't resist giving some of the lads an outing in the sun. By sheer intention I had mowed the bit of side yard slope that I used for two games last Spring the day before so it was just a matter of picking the lucky lads who would get out. So far I've stuck to 54's outside but the 40's aren't that much smaller and I had just the right bunch ready to go.

Belmont Island, West Indies, (don't bother checking your maps) sometime in the 1790's. Hired Jaegers scouting ahead of a British column, spy on a supposedly secret French base. 

Over the winter I've had time to think about where my French Rev. forces are headed and decided that I had slid into the rut of "battles" without noticing it, whereas the original plan had been more of a skirmish/semiskirmish (depending on one's definition of skirmish) game. So. it's been "Heigh-ho and back we go". The standard unit is once again an 8 man company but I don't have the patience for card activation by unit or any fussy stuff, so the original "With MacDuff to the Frontier" was out but there was no need to invent anything new so I just scribbled down some quick basic rules and started thinking about a quick and easy outdoor scenario.  Having taken a closer look at the mown battle area, and thought about the available troops, I decided on a British column sent to capture a French base that has been built in the jungle to support a new army of freed slaves.

As the column approached the French base, the troops begin to deploy off the 'road',  into the undergrowth, and creep closer. 

The French sentries were alert and opened fire before the deployment was complete but the attack pressed forward while French troops were soon spilling out of their barracks and forming up. The battle was on!  

An assault by the De Brouille Regiment was thrown back but the Black Watch was at hand. 

The Riflemen had proved most useful in weakening the French fire line despite their breastwork while the assaults by the emigre's had resulted in heavy casualties on either side. The first assault by the Highlanders had been held, just, but  the second go went over the wall and the French morale collapsed. The York Hussars were set loose to round up or disperse the remaining French.

For the curious, here's the "Back of a Postcard" rules I scribbled down. All measurements were done with one of my sticks with coloured bands. I think the one I grabbed had 60mm bands but they might have been 2" or 3", doesn't really matter. 

Ross's new Back of a Postcard version of A Whiff of Dice

Initiative & Game length: Draw 15 cards, turn 1 over at the start of each turn when the last card is played the game is over. Red: British go 1st, Black: French go 1st, Joker=The turn is over, draw next card. 

Sequence: 1st player units move or shoot, both sides resolve melee then 2nd player does the same. If one side loses its general, the player with a general decides who goes first each turn regardless of colour.

Move: Deployed Infantry: 2 lengths, Skirmishers or Infantry in Column: 3 lengths, Cavalry: 4 lengths. 

Terrain: Infantry lose 1 length to move through jungle or cross an obstacle. Cavalry and artillery may not move through jungle, cost 2 lengths to cross obstacle. Road negates terrain for column. 

Shooting: Muskets: Range 2 lengths 1d@2 figures, 5,6 hits.  Artillery: Canister: Range 3 3d@gun. 5,6 hits. Shot: Range 6 2d@gun  4,5,6 hits.  +1 if Rifles or Canister, -1 if difficult target (enemy in cover, skirmishers, or cavalry)

Melee: Infantry: 1d@2, Rifles 1d@3, Cavalry 1d each; 4,5,6 hits,  -1 vs cover. Side taking most hits retreats full move.

Commander: Once per turn may join unit which takes a hit and roll 1d. 5,6=hit cancelled or if in melee 1 may be inflicted on enemy, 2,3,4 no effect, 1 Commander is wounded and removed. (See initiative)

Morale: Unit losing over 1/2 figures retreats. (pick 'em up) 'Army' losing over 1/2 units concedes game unless overruled by scenario. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Newport Noodle: An illustrated Report From the Front Lines

An illustrated eye witness report! 

"It was on Friday the 13th of May when we finally reached Sawmill village again. An unlucky day they say, should have known we'd be meeting Lannigan's ragged bunch there. We had Lucky MacDuff at our head though so we weren't worried."

"The Mounted Rifles had galloped ahead and arrived just in time to see off the Canary Caps."

"The enemy cavalry like to see themselves like Cavaliers of Olde but our Rifles are clever modern lads, they slipped away before they could be skewered then doubled back to the village, hopped off their horses and nicely cut off the enemy's line of retreat and the advance of his infantry!" (A timely flip of initiative.)

"Well, our rifles and artillery soon finished off the enemy's cavalry while the Highlanders grabbed the Eastern section of town but I'm afraid the Rebel's Irishmen infantry can be a bit crazy when it comes to a bit of a Barney and our riders were soon back in the saddle and at a safe distance while the Irish started preparing that section of town for a fight. " 

"The fighting was hot and heavy along the whole line now and too close for the artillery to separate friend from foe so they entered into a long range duel, hilltop to hilltop. I think the smoke must have been blowing into the Redcaps eyes though for our lads were busting them up as quick as you please and hardly receiving even a near miss in return." 

"The fighting had been fierce and bloody on the Eastern flank and we could see the enemy Zouaves break and run, ignoring Brigadier Stuart as he rode amongst them, calling on them helplessly to "Rally for God's sake and for your Freedom!". When we looked back towards our Highlanders though, our hearts sank. The colours were no long waving on high, worse the last of the enemy infantry seemed to be gathering themselves for a rush."

"But you don't capture a Highland standard that easily. Before the enemy could muster themselves to rush the buildings, our whole force was in action. Our artillery redoubled their fire, silencing the enemy guns. On the Western flank, the Mounted Rifles remounted and tried to panic the enemy by making a flanking move but they were soon driven back by a sharp fire.  B company of the Highlanders poured out of their buildings, supported by the Rifles while the battered regulars fellback to take their place holding the centre of town. The enemy wasn't going to take even one section of town without a fight!"  (Another lucky flip of initiative on turn 15 of 15 )

"The fight was short and bloody. As the Greybacks started to break they were joined by Colonel Stuart waving his hat and calling on the men to "Rally for Freedom's Sake!" until a bullet knocked him off his horse.  The battle was over and the village securely in the hands of the Dominion's soldiers."