Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October and I'm asking YOU to help choose the period. It has to be something from my current list but please comment on any post from Sep 12 till Oct 1 or email me : rmacfa@gmail.com . and to let me know your preference and any suggestions on the mini campaign.

The polls are now open!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Just when Final Victory was close

After surveying the enemy position, General Douglas decided to try a left hook while threatening the enemy's left flank with his cavalry.

The attack on the left started out well. 

The centre however suffered horendous casualties as they advanced.

The flanking fire from the Guards Brigade  helped weaken the enemy and the second assault took the sunken road but at a heavy cost. On the far side of the hill the cavalry had driven back the enemy cavalry and artillery but it was itself spent in the task. 

A few fanatic Rebels held the small farm and their deadly fire broke up the final assault before it could be launched. The rearguard was exhausted but they had done their job, prsuit would have to wait for tomorrow and the main enemy army would be safely across the Neverwaussie River before dawn.


Alas, there was to be no pursuit at all. As the sunk set a courier galloped up to General Douglas with a telegram. The Kree had again invested Fort Henry. General Douglas was ordered to immediately break contact with the Rebels and fall back to the railhead. There he was to entrench and await reinforcements.

He was also  to immediately dispatch the Colonel Ross with the Regulars and Victoria Rifles post haste to Belmont by rail and thence to Port Arthur by steamer to report to General Robert, commander of the Fort Henry Relief Force. 
A scene from the last relief expedition.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Rearguard

The fruits of victory depend on a vigorous pursuit.

A safe retreat depends on a stubborn rearguard.


Twelve turns of day light remain as General Douglas deploys his pursuing force and plans his attack on the sunken road.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Battle of Four Square Junction

Well, I wanted a good game and I got one!

Not having a definite idea I decided to roll dice to pick and layout terrain items such as hills, woods, buildings and road entry points and to deploy all my ready Origawn Rebellion forces.
Somewhere in the Origawn Territory, Advance Guards clash.
I had been having some fun experimenting with using a 3" grid for measuring only and with playing around with 2 grid units but in the end, based on the current size of the incomplete armies, I decided to just go with the 6" grid with a unit per grid square except in cases of massed battalions where 2 units could be in a square and artillery which takes two adjacent squares, one for the gun and one for the limbers, caissons and so forth.
The armies deploy directly from the march.
Both armies were composed of one cavalry and three infantry brigades supported by two batteries. The cavalry brigades were only two squadrons while the infantry brigades were composed of four 'companies' of infantry drawn from 2,3 or 4 regiments. (Please note that the organization is not meant to be taken literally but allows me to identify units by name based on uniforms and to mix and match them within the next highest organizational level. Gamewise, a unit is a unit and any group of units with a Commander is a Brigade under the rules.)
Several turns later the photographer returns to active duty. The Dominion army has deployed all its troops and has thrown two infantry brigades supported by cavalry against one battered Rebel brigade and the remains of their cavalry. Their horse artillery has suffered heavily from accurate artillery fire and been forced to deploy. The cramped rebel forces under pressure from two sides are having a hard time redeploying.
The first half of the game saw both sides being cautious as the armies slowly marched on to the field using randomly assigned roads, 1 brigade per turn if there was room on the assigned road. Red ended up with everything except one infantry brigade arriving on the main road which slowed them a bit early on but also put the bulk of their army in the centre until the last arrival who was perfectly placed for a turning move.

The Rebel Third Brigade tries to find room to deploy.
Blue ended up with cavalry, guns and one infantry brigade in the centre and two infantry on the right. Because of delays and bottlenecks with terrain,  Blue was faced with a choice of a 1:1 attack across open terrain without artillery support or a lengthy wait.  An early attempt to push forward and at least trade fire showed some promise early on, forcing back the Royal Horse Artillery but a prolonged fight turned against them and evened the odds, driving them back to cover.
Balloon's eye view of the battle as the Dominion assault on the hill begins.
The altitude seems to have affected the colour and sharpness.

An early Rebel cavalry attack had been repulsed handily as had a Dominion counter attack so the battle degenerated into a long range carbine duel until the infantry came up. When the last Dominion troops were up and forming for an attack the Dominion cavalry was launched  in an assault driving one Rebel Squadron back through the infantry and sending the remnant of the other scurrying for the woods leading to another exchange of dismounted carbine fire which settled the matter.

With the Dominion's redcoats in possession of the hill astride the main road and 3 of their 4 brigades down to 1/2 strength, The Rebels are forced to retreat, 
With the third Rebel infantry brigade finally up and deployed, the Rebel infantry was sent forward hoping to take some of the pressure off the Grey brigade which had  taken heavy losses in the centre. The assault was stopped cold by rifle and artillery fire. In the centre,  the Highland and Regular brigades pressed forward from front and flank and within three turns crushed the Rebel left and seized the hill overlooking their main line of communication.

A quick assessment of the Rebel army showed that three of the four brigades had lost over half their strength. It was time to retreat while there was still a fresh brigade and a handful of guns to act as a rearguard.

Time to retreat while there is still a rearguard.
So, after three or more hours of play in three or so sessions over two days, (It is sooooo hard to find a solid afternoon off in summer when the weather is good!) I finally had a game with a decisive win for one side and felt like what was in my head. I will confess that I had started off by trying a slightly updated version of the Square Brigadier but ended up with a mix of my off grid ideas and my old on grid ones with a morale check for heavy casualties and no rally rolls or saving throws. It was hard to drop the rally/saving rolls but with my planned OB's only a little over half done, something had to be done to reach a conclusion faster!

The result should be a collection of figures, background and rules that will let me fight a small one hour game with a handful of units, a game like this or an occasional all day pitched battle with every unit on board.

 Now to make the rules make sense in writing.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Sunday Early Edition

Battle is joined!





Details to follow.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Bring up the guns!

Late last century, I ordered a 4 horse Britain's Royal Horse Artillery team from Soldierpac. Today, I painted them.
Recast Britains' RHA team from Soldierpac, BMC limber, AIP 7pdr RBL gun.

Well, some of them. I always intended to use a plastic ACW limber but somehow I kept putting it off. Properly speaking I should have had a 6 horse team plus mounted gunners and a mounted battery commander but even a 4 horse team took up an 18" long piece of turf on my 6'x10' table. On my 4'x6' table it would nearly reach the middle.  I decided to assign one pair of horses to the rebel horse artillery and let the galloping horses and uniforms identify the horse artillery. Practical rather than spectacular.



The limber itself is from the pack of BMC guns and limbers. I cut down the shaft, drilled a teeny hole in the end of it and inserted a wire hook so that I can hook the limber to the horses or remove it. I still need to do limber riders but the seated WW1 gunner that I have is headless and needs to be stripped, repaired, and umhh...cloned.



Right, its Friday, its pouring rain, time for a game.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Somebody order a dismounted Reb cavalryman?

Yes, in blue tunic and black campaign hat.

........Blue?....

I thought Britains' Reb cavalry wore grey? With yellow kepis?

Ah......yes, ....well...I meant rebel in my Red 'Dominion' Army vs Blue/Grey 'Rebel' Army  in my toy soldier game..... 

But its OK, I was planning to eventually add such a cavalry unit. I guess its time to do it. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

All present!

Its taken a while but the Black Horse have finally found a bugler to bring their numbers up to a full squadron of 4 toy soldiers.


His kepi doesn't match the rest of his regiment but that's how I pictured him.

The First or 'Blue' Brigade of the Origawn rebel cavalry.  
What's next? Well......there are limber horses and riders on my desk and some Rebel infantry in the wings but I think a prototype dismounted cavalryman may have snuck up to the head of the queue while I wasn't paying attention.

Friday, June 14, 2019

There was a soldier

A Scottish soldier.

And a squadron of Republican French Hussards. Can they take him? Should he take his musket off his shoulder now?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I was curious.

Not impatient, merely curious.
Scruby/Historifigs N Gauge/10mm

As suspected, they were fairly easy to paint as long as I eschewed trying to do accurate detail and shading. I'm pretty sure I did a better job 30 years ago on my 10mm Afrika Korps and Falschirmjaeger but I won't lose sleep over it.

1/72nd vs N Gauge

Given that '20'mm are easier to paint and 6 figures will fit on the same size base as 8 N gauge, I can't see me doing more than a token contingent towards a group game but I have no problem doing that.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Preparing to N-gauge the Enemy

 My toy soldiers now have their own toy soldiers.
The Major and his sergeant discuss uniform choices for their new Scruby N Gauge figures from Historifigs.
More about this little (sic) sideshow  when I get some painted.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

The Quick Version

This game was worthy of a proper battle report but no correspondents or professional photographers from the Newport Noodle were on hand. (Possibly they were also working overtime in the garden during a rare burst of good weather.)   I'm afraid we'll have to make due with a quick summary of the action and a few fuzzy snaps.
Somewhere around turn 5 or 6 out of 15. 
The scenario was a meeting engagement with both sides arriving, one brigade or battery per turn on one of two randomly selected roads. Units arriving were deemed to be out of command and had to dice accordingly before entering the board which slowed the arrival of some troops by a turn or three.   As the game got rolling I decided that control of  three of the road exits would constitute victory.

An early assault on the town by the Highland brigade was halted with heavy casualties by the late but timely arrival of the Grey Brigade. The Rebel commander ended up operating on exterior lines and had trouble getting his remote subordinates to act quickly and in consort,

Eventually the Rebels got their act together and got aggressive. Two brigades supported by two batteries drove back the Dominion left and pushed the Grenadier brigade back out of the central wood thus threatening Dominion control of the main road.   

Turn 14 of 15. On the last turn Red went second and with desperate all out charges on both flanks, drove Blue out of the town and turned their opposite flank, breaking a second Rebel Brigade although at a high cost. In the end, both armies had taken heavy losses but the Dominion troops held three roads and had inflicted significantly higher casualties. I ruled a marginal victory for General Douglas's Redcoats.

Alas (or thankfully depending on POV), discussions of details, rules and plans will have to wait and be largely forgotten but it was a good game and confirmed that things are on the right track.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Interlude

I decided to watch the 75th Anniversary commemoration broadcast from Juno Beach this morning. Quite well done.

It still fascinates me that when I was a kid, WWII seemed like history long past but in fact when I joined the Black Watch Cadets in 1967, DDAY was only 23 years past. Today, 9/11 is only 18 years in the past. Makes you think.

Midway through today's fighting.
The battle is not yet lost or won.
Anyway, I did manage a couple of enjoyable hours at my wargames table this afternoon. I was a bit confused when I started since the rules weren't like the ones I remembered from my last test game but a bit of digging reminded me that I had tried several different draft rules during the game. The quick summary I did for my last post had been accidentally based on one of the rejected drafts.

It didn't take long to fix the post and get the game flowing properly but while the game is simple it's not aimed at one hour games but rather 2-4 hour games.
The armies are running out of reserves though so the game should wrap up tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Planning and Preparation (Updated)

The Origawn Territory, June 5th in the 2nd year of the NorthWest Rebellion, a column  of Rebel Cavalry approaches the sleepy town of Nulparte Junction.
The Rebel cavalry is first on the field.
Today wasn't quite the day off I expected but the rules are decided on (in 1 page summary form) and terrain features and placement have been diced for and set up.  (Damned uncooperative dice have left me with a rather more open table than is usually seen in the Origawn but at least I put my foot down at their suggestion of a large steep hill topped by a town and woods in one corner!)

I'm not ready to get into a proper campaign yet and didn't have brain energy and time to devise a scenario so just rolled for entry points and started bringing troops on, cavalry in the lead.

Tomorrow the battle will commence in earnest.

Random entry dice were just as saucy but this will do.

Nothing innovative in the rules, but a slightly different mix with some elements not used by me in years. If it works, I'll set about a full version.

________________________
The Model Major General - A Toy Soldier Wargame
by Ross Macfarlane @6 June 2019 (I wrote this late at night and included a few abandoned off grid mechanisms. Now fixed.)


In the absence of a Game Master (GM) Common sense trumps any rule.
Command. A detached unit or detached Brigadier must take a control check:
5,6 No retreat, may take aggressive action
3,4 Act as player wishes
1,2 No Advance. may retreat
+1 Rash Commander
-1 Fired last turn, Cautious commander.
-1 Unit or Brigade below 1/2 strength.
+1 OR -1 Brilliant Commander or Veteran unit


Movement. Inf, Artillery 12” Cavalry 20”  1/2 turn to occupy or leave a building.
-2” per minor obstacle. 1/2 speed in woods for infantry, column on road ignores terrain
If with 4” of enemy may only move directly towards or away.  
Charge may only be ordered vs unit to front.


Shooting Units within 4" may not shoot
1 die per 2 front rank figures/ 1 deployed artillery crew.
5,6 hits
+1 if artillery, sharpshooters etc +1 if enfilading or firing at dense target.
-1 at long range
-1 vs cover etc
Rifles 8”/12” Musket/Carbine 4”/8” Artillery 12”/36”


Melee Units within 4" must resolve melee whether charge or firefight. 1d per 2 figures. x2 dice for cavalry charging infantry in the open, not in square.
4,5,6 hits +1 Shock troops -1 if attacking over obstacle -1 vs cover
Side taking more hits in melee retreats full move may not move next turn. Rout if below 1/2. If case of tie attackers falls back 1/2 move.


Morale. Unit below 1/2 strength may not shoot or charge and will break if it loses melee. At end of turn. Roll 1d6 per figure lost this turn 5,6 return to the ranks. +1 Elite, -1 Militia etc, -1 lost melee



Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Now, where was I?

Another day of physical labour in the veggie garden done, rain in the forecast, Wednesday looks like Gameday.

But what to do? Prince Valiant, ACW or......

A shot from my last 54mm game.

Being at Huzzah! managed to enhance my feeling that as useful as the short, simple games are, I want a meatier option. I now have a pretty good idea of what I want but its past my bedtime so we'll see what the morning brings!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Push on! Push on!

Its just been one of those weeks, nasty cold, nasty weather, urgent yard work when the sun appeared and......well, who's never been there?

But if there wasn't time, energy and enthusiasm to push on full speed, one can always take smaller bites.



I'd already decided to simplify the details but now I decided to cut the batch down to 3 figures and finish them then go back for the next 3.

And for a bit of inspiration: