Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Kell Island Technical Discussion. 5/5

Kell Island was the opening engagement of the First Rosmark-Maritime Alliance War, a war whose outbreak was triggered by the 10 Year Readers' Commemeration Poll.

The capture of the island allowed the Alliance to land their army on the mainland and consolidate their position before the King's army could complete its passage over the Hye Mountains.

The armies would soon clash again at the River Boinne.
The King's Carabiniers halt on a small rise to observe the enemy before deciding what to do. (5-6 Be Bold: charge and try to drive the first units back into the see while a farmer carries the news, 1-4 Be Cautious: send a rider back, observe and threaten the enemy hoping to draw off forces from the main attack )

Orders of Battle for Kell Island

Maritime Alliance Forces 
General  Milligan
1 Sq Black Horse (nicknamed for their facings not their horses)
1 Sq Fitzjames Horse
1 Unit Marines (Light Infantry)
1 Unit of Grenadiers (Gallant)
3 Units of Infantry
1 Unit of Nordmark Infantry (Bluecoats) (Slow)

Rosmark Forces
General Thadiweh
1 Sq King Michael Carabiniers
2 Units of Infantry
1 Unit Native Scouts (Skirmishers)
1 Unit Fisher Folk  Skirmishers, Gallant, Poor shots)
1 Unit Farmton Militia (Skirmishers, Timid, Good shots)
Garrison. 1 battery with 4 gunners able to fire 1 gun fixed towards town and/or 1 heavy gun fixed towards the sea), plus 6 infantry, may not leave the fort.)

The native scouts rushed across the pass through the high ground. The entire hill is bad going but the 2nd and 3rd contours are impassible to all but light infantry.

This was my 7th game using AGW (no duds yet), my 3rd go at playing solo and my 1st attempt at using them for a CS Grant Scenario.

A straight translation of units worked well as did the victory conditions but I still haven't mastered an accurate translation of the game turn limit with this or any othf ruleset.

I had hoped that counting Jokers might work but in the heat of the game I forgot to count! (I think I was nearing 20 Jokers which was about right but that was flukey) As for the rule about ferrying units ashore, I just moved the boats on the passenger unit's card. Two moves each way plus a turn to embark or to dismount in disorder.

Luckily the number of turns didn't matter this time either since I decided that an army reduced  to 1/2 strength would retreat or concede. Essentially I counted the number of units on each side as sort of 'army morale' and reduced it by 1 for a unit which lost 50% and another one if it was destroyed or routed (ran away etc).

In this case the attackers had 8 units and only had 2 reduced to 1/2 and none destroyed or routed though several were close to 1/2. The defenders started with 7 units (but only 2 infantry) and ended with 4 effectively destroyed and  2 more below 1/2. Only the weak garrison unit which was confined to the fort was still at full strength

The Marine Light Infantry found sharpshooters behind cover to be too tough a nut to crack.

I wanted to use some of the special attributes but to do so in a persistent way for the length of the campaign at least. Years of WRG Ancients has left me with a dislike for counting points so I went for the net zero pts approach: a negative for every positive.

For the attackers I made the Grenadiers Gallant and the blue coated Not Hessians Slow. For the defenders I gave each militia light infantry unit one positive and one negative attribute.

The farmers were marksmen which they used to excellent effect to the dismay of the attackers but they were also brittle and fled the field when charged, regusing to rally.

The fishermen also stuck with classic image and were classed as poor shots but were gallant as they were keen to brawl. In retrospect this was a bad choice since 6 skirmishers were probably never going to charge anyone.

Anyway it added a bit more flavour without complication or supertroops.

A look at the battle as the tide of victory suddenly turned relentlessly as unit after unit of  Rosmark troops suddenly collapsed. 
The card decks were easy to manage, possibly due to 10 years of solo play but I never had any problem deciding how to use the cards to best advantage for either side. The Jokers were getting a bit problematic since 5 times the 2nd Joker appeared in the first third of the deck and twice the Joker reappeared when dealing the new Hold cards! However, eventually they calmed down. The damage had been done though.

The attackers had a hand full of Court cards and used them as well as their General to make use of groups of units and some Aces to speed through the deck hurrying up reinforcements and then got a second Joker starting things over and replenishing their hand in time to do it again. The defenders chose that moment to roll a 1 on a 1/3 morale test on one of their infantry units!

In very short order the game switched from 'Advantage Defenders' to 'Hopeless' as the low morale proved to be no fluke.

Well this has been long enough and more so I'll finish by saying that the more I play, the more the cards become a means to execute a sound plan efficiently and less a source of random opportunity.

Elements of the game reminded me in a good way of MacDuff but more sophisticated, more effective, and basically better designed.  A "Keeper" as it were.


  1. Great report and terrain and minis, and interesting technical discussion!

  2. Was an exciting game and find your breakdown of the game interesting , I use joker cards turned to limit the length of a game , usually 6 or 8 depending on the scenario

    1. I like at least a dozen turns to allow the game to develop, have a bit of ebb anf flow, attack/counter attack and to vive reserves time to be called up and intervene but I dod get the impression that this is out of fashion.

  3. Riveting game and I appreciate this technical discussion. I have been on the fence about getting AGW (I admit that I'm afraid of the, to me, large figure count - particularly for cavalry) but I think I may have to bite the bullet.

    1. You can actually play the game with fewer figures, I've played successfully with 8 man infantry and 4 fig cavalry units or by using a base for each unit and using a roster.

  4. Another great report Ross. I like the use of Farmers and Fishermen irregulars.
    (I removed your email address comment - I'm sure you don't need more spam!)

    1. Thanks. I don't see most of the spam (along with occasional not actually spam enails) so I don't worry too much about it.

  5. Ross, Great AAR. Glad you to hear you like the game. MacDuff was influential. It's difficult to keep track of turns when using the cards, we generally think of game length in terms of our curfew :-)

    1. The curfew approach has been well used over the years and convention games have their own curfew but being able to play a game solo over several days has offered new challanges for scenarios such as a delaying action or ones where reinforcements arrive on a schedule. Helps keep the little grey cells active.

  6. I like the zero sum approach for unit design. Still have the valuation problem, but keeps book-keeping simple.