Steve the Wargamer

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Being an account of my wargaming activities, a few sailing
stories, some beer related anecdotes, what music I'm listening to....
oh, and anything else that knows me!

Updated: 17 min 42 sec ago

I have been to.. Colours '18

September 18, 2018 - 07:20
So before I put up a post on the JC Memorial game just a brief review of the Colours show which I attended Saturday.. this was my first wargame show in 10 months, as I purposely missed Salute this year (I think I'll go next year by the by, as I've worked out that a show is much more than a big bunch of traders and hygienically challenged fat blokes with pony tails -  it also helps to fuel the enthusiasm, and general wargaming mojo which was much missed this year)

Big crowds of people - no decline for this show, but again, apropos of nothing, every time I go I''m amazed at how much more ground has been sold and turned into luxury flats looking over the race course..  so the old car park is now a block of flats, and the new parking is in the centre of the course..  bit of a frisson walking across the race track to get to the stands..  I'm amazed how long the straights are..

First point of call the Art of War t-shirt stand on the top floor - big Lee clued me into these guys on one of his posts, and I put in a trial order for their Shieldwall t-shirt - which i was very impressed with - good fit, good quality, so I was going to get another tshirt today - the Raven banner one this time. I recommend them completely and without reservation...

Job done I then wandered off to have a look round the show -  wads of twenty quid notes widely seen so people clearly not short of money - didn't really sense a trend this year, lots of MDF of course but that's not new, didn't really sense a new period coming to the fore, or any new 'go to' rule sets..  lots of shopping going on though..

What caught the eye? Some very nice and very reasonably priced resin boats on the Games of War stand the boats [clicky]in particular were very nice and very reasonably priced.. I also liked these which I thought were brilliant and hugely affordable - I may well invest and replace those ratty old home made terraces I use for 15mm WWII skirmish... they are separate as well so roof and upper story can be removed..

Booty then? The aforementioned t-shirt, some additional mini dice for the AWI collection (to show unit status), a book on the Earl of Essex that I've had on my to 'get list' for a while (my ECW project is based round Edgehill so this will fit the bill nicely) and for the first time in an age some little metal men - dismounted dragoons who are destined for the AWI project - enough for two units, one of them will be British for sure, the other I can paint as the American 4th Dragoons - if they work I'll get some more to represent the other units I have. These were from Eagle Miniatures and very reasonably priced..

...and so on to the games...   not going to a wargames show for 10 months is good for the soul - it refreshes the taste buds and allows you to enjoy games that if you were going to lots of shows you'd probably ignore ("meh" as the young people like to say)

So I have four games to feature from the myriads of games being shown..  and in the usual manner, in reverse order, they are..

Fourth.. "Operation Goodwood" by the Friends Who Like Rapid Fire... shed loads of 20mm goodness, and everything I like and dislike about Rapid Fire on a single table...  

...everything I like and dislike about Rapid Fire...
...modelling was magnificent, vehicles and terrain lovely, but..  you knew there had to be a but...  wall to wall cab ranked tanks...  it looked like a Sherman NCP car park on a busy Saturday morning at the local shopping centre...  it called out for just one carefully time fighter bomber sweep...  I know, I know, it's an operational level game, but it would have been infinitely better looking if a smaller scale had been used so the the vehicles could have been spread out a bit...  10mm perfect, 15mm better..

In third place, not my period, not my scale, and hex terrain (though DG thought they weren't using the hexes for movement measurement?) but I thought this game was magnificent..  "Blood and Bridges", a cold war game in 1/200 scale (tick) by Chris Wykes and Friends..  now this is a miniatures version of the board game (Lock ‘n Loads World at War series) and is a fictional 3rd World War encounter between British/NATO forces and Russia..

..loved the helicopters..Simply superb..

Cab ranked tanks again, but in this scale they work..  yeah, I'm weird..

...and in second place... "The Race Across Idlib Province, 28th October, 1918" by "Adrian Shepherd and Friends". the background to the game is that the British are attempting the capture of the last remaining Ottoman/German airstrip in northern Syria (a collection point for serviceable aircraft) ...  and it was the aircraft that caught the eye for me...

..."Krak des Berger", a ruined Crusader castle scratch built  for the game by Adrian Shepherd.... information presented on A3 laminated sheets made to look like old newspapers from the day - very clever..

Rolls Royce armoured cars and Model T's ..  what's not to like!
Loved the Triplane as well
...and that Fokker DVII is good enough to eat.....other blog posts [clicky] would confirm the British failed in their objective on the day, but a good time was had nonetheless.. 

So without further ado..  in first place...  Simon Miller's "To The Strongest" English Civil War game, "Soggy Bottom", which was wall to wall beauty, and a joy to behold..

Parliament left, Royalist right
...Cromwell and the lads looking for a good time..
Old Robin's own..
More Parliamentary horse - left flank..
Royalist horse - right flank
...I bet Archer liked custard as a child...  how GOOD are they?

Stunning flag.. view.. one day...  one day..
Superb show..  roll on Warfare... 
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Abundance Farm... Set Up

September 16, 2018 - 09:11
...this will be a kind of 'supermarket sweep' in force... 

With 'Colours' on this weekend, DG was down in my part of the woods to attend, and as is our want (we meet irregularly face to face these days, as DG is in Wales and I'm on the south coast) we exchanged emails on the subject of a game while he was down... we're also aware that we haven't yet played the John Corrigan Memorial game [clicky] this year so decision made, a return to the American War of Independence...

Next question, what scenario? I was toying with the idea of a flick through the older Grant scenario books as I liked the idea of continuing the old school theme of these games (and this is the seventh - where did those years go?), but I happened to be reading through the blogs I follow when I saw this post by Angus Konstam and the Edinburgh Wargame Club [clicky] of a game they'd had that week and was immediately taken with it.. job done..

So first off the map - and again the (original) map below is courtesy of Warlord Games and modified shamelessly by me…

The back story for the game is that both sides are about to go into winter quarters and so are looking for supplies to see them through the winter, when news reaches them of a significant supply of fodder and other food stuffs at Abundance Farm - a foraging party in strength is immediately ordered...

Forces will be diced for

Die RollInfantryArtilleryLight 
Entry points are noted – the order of march to be decided before the game and unit formation on entry is up to the player..


  • The farm is worth 6 points, and other hamlets in the area were worth either 1 or 3 points, depending on who holds them. 
  •  The two hills closest to the farm are worth 1 point each, while the hill overlooking the “T-junction” is worth three points. 
  •  Each side gains a point for every enemy unit lost/destroyed (a modification to this would be to count one point for each strength point lost by your opponent) 
Game length – 12 turns - from turn 13 throw 2D6 scoring 9 or ore for the game to end that move - for each subsequent move deduct one from the total needed (randomness being what it is you should get a game of 14 to 16 turns..)

We then diced for the sides and entry points and forces - DG won and chose the American's and then threw a 1 on the table - I threw a 3 which (other than 6), is probably the best force for this scenario.. 

Stay tuned for the game write up..
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"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 17 - "Encounter" - Game (Part 2)

September 1, 2018 - 21:40
...well what a cracker...  any solo game that makes you laugh out loud incredulously can't be too bad..  read on for why... 

So by way of a re-cap, here's where we left the last instalment... this was the end of move 9, fairly even-stevens on the face of it..  the French (attacking left to right) have a toe hold on the hill with one strong flank (above the hill) and one that the cavalry are moving to cover - the Allies are weaker on their right flank, but have two units on the hill, one of which is the triumphant Schomberg's horse..

End Turn 9 and end of part it was that a little less than a week later, with all household duties completed, I found myself in the loft ready to play out the last half dozen moves...  been a good game as I've spent at least ten minutes a day between the last session and this one, looking at the end of turn 9 picture and wondering about various options/moves...

...and off we go, I've found the old one two works very well in a melee situation, wherever possible attack with two units to one, as the defending unit at best can only hold one...  so it was in this case - both Allied units attacked, Saintonge fired and held Dering's but the cavalry charged home and (as usual?!) routed them...  I sense some battle honours for Schomberg's..

End Turn 10Things are not looking good for the French...  two units now routing, one unit shaken (the cavalry), but the Wild Geese are on the hill...

...I sensed the moment of decision was coming, and I think this move was probably it..  the French had numbers ont heir left flank and decided to make free with a little one two themselves with a view to driving off the sole Allied foot regiment holding the flank (Howe's)..  if they can clear that flank it gives them the opportunity (with just enough time) to hook right on to the hill..  first part of the plan goes well, Howe's send out a crashing volley to hold Bearn (one down but still one to go), then the plan starts to go a little awry..  Howe's hold, and in the ensuring melee I threw the following (French blue, Allies red) ...  bye bye Toulouse, and all hopes this turn on that flank...

...elsewhere everyone else stands still or exchanges fire..

End Turn 11In the next turn and the struggle continues..  trying anther attempt at the one two, both sides lose a unit..  Dering's finally break, and Schomberg (again!) for the wild geese...  first time this game the Allies have had sole control of the hill..

End Turn 12French recovery during the morale phase is miraculous, and once again Saintonge pour forward to contest the hill...  everyone else (French or Allied) is too far away to contest but one surviving Allied infantry battalion climbs the slopes to support Schomberg's

End Turn 14...can Schomberg's pull it off again?

...and so we arrive at the final turn...    and Schomberg's fail their morale test and break! They only needed get four or less on a D6, and went and threw a 6...  bang..  gone...  

So we end the game with one unit per side on the hill..  a draw...  but i'm going to call it a narrow Allied victory due to the number of fresh units they still have compared with the French...

End GameWhat a cracking game...  final butchers bill? The Allies lost 8 strength points, the French lost 11, in both cases from a maximum of 36..
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"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 17 - "Encounter" - Setup and Game (Part 1)

August 28, 2018 - 15:19
I know, I know, far too long since the last update, but we're in the middle of the long hot summer of '18, and all my time has been spent either being ill, not going on holiday, working or sailing [clicky], and with time short, something has to give... and no I'm not going into details on the illness/holiday thing except to say they are not unrelated, and "mightily bored you'll be"* if I went into explanatory detail...

*kudos and a virtual pint if you name the movie..

This weekend however, the weather has broken, and having sailed Friday, done family stuff Saturday, Sunday howled with wind and rain all day, and with the family otherwise occupied the loft beckoned.. it was time for a re-acquaintance with the little metal men...

Turning to my favourite book of scenario's I find that I have reached #17, and having read it and toyed with the idea a Colonial set to, it seemed to me that the scenario was purpose built for the Wars of the Spanish Succession, so I decided to go with that..

No changes to the table as designed in the scenario - as is standard for me it's 4' square (to match my terrain tiles) rather than 3' square, with a bit of scenic dressing I came up with the following - I diced for the hill 1-4 'gentle slopes', 5-6 'steep', and it came up as "gentle"..

Feel free to click and embiggen any of the following pictures...

A scene of bucolic charm with nothing but a supply column gently wending their way to the main camp, little knowing that the peace and quiet is about to be rent by shot and shell..  well...   shot anyway...
A solo game but the One Hour Wargame scenario's are quite suited as there is a fair amount of randomness in the game set up step - first I diced for who was the "red" player as they move first in each turn - the French. Then I rolled for forces - six units/side - and as per the following, the French threw a 6, and the Allies, 1, leading to the following forces...  French on the left, Allies on the right:

One of the French units is "guard" (I picked Navarre for obvious reasons) - they gain a +1 morale modifier. The Allies have come up artillery heavy - given the nature of the scenario though, and to add verisimilitude, the guns are classed as "light", in game terms only marginally bigger than a battalion gun...

..little do they know...Both sides get to deploy one unit for turn 1 - both sides went with cavalry for obvious reasons

Turn 1 - both sides advance - French on the left, Allies on the right..
Tactically this is a fairly simple "problem" - get their "the first'est with the most'est", the only wrinkle being that you also need to be the "last'est" to leave!

The only other wrinkle is that reinforcements up to your 6 unit maximum are diced for and there's only a 50% chance they'll arrive each turn - given the game is only 15 turns, statistically there's a chance that not all your units will arrive by end of game, but I can report that for this game, all units had arrived by about move 8...

France's finest - sabres drawn..  Ligonday.. love the grey in the middle..
Faced by England's finest..  heirs of Cromwell's ironsides..  Schomberg's..  "The Black Horse".. dour sums it up..Turn 2 and the French get reinforcements (Navarre in this case) and the British don't..  the cavalry are facing off on the hill top... NB. In my rules only the French cavalry have a firing ability...

End Turn 2Turn 3 and the Allies get reinforcements, the French not - time to bring on the first Allied gun - my plan for them is stand off and hope for a lucky shot at long range..  on the hill the French cavalry close to musket range and let fly causing Schomberg's to become shaken...

End Turn 3Turn 4 - Both sides get reinforcements - on the hill Schomberg charges Ligonday, and sends them packing (note rout marker)..  Navarre reaches the hill...

End Turn initial success to the Allies but there's a long way to go..

Navarre prepare to assault the hill for the glory of France...  Minifigs painted by DG a long while ago...Turn 5 - and both sides again get reinforcements - these are easy decisions for the French, but the Allied decision point is when to bring on the second gun instead of more infantry...  with three French battalions on the table I opted to bring on infantry this turn..  Schomberg's have done their work and withdraw to the friendly edge of the hill... 

End Turn 5Turn 6 - more reinforcements for both sides - both sides now have five units of their six...  the French cavalry has continued to rout, Navarre have moved on to the hill..  the British gun is getting close to being in range...

End Turn 6
French infantry marching quickly for the objective..
British infantry doing the same..Turn 7 - the French get reinforcements - all their units are now on the table...  the gun has forced the French tactics for their deployment - no point in deploying in the face of artillery, but the French will need to deal with it at some point in time as it dominates the hill...  the French cavalry have recovered to shaken..  that British gun deploys and opens fire causing Navarre to become shaken (but no casualties)...

End Turn 7Turn 8 - last reinforcements arrive for the Allies - both sides are now at full strength. British infantry is deploying to face the French infantry but in significantly less numbers..

End Turn 8On the hill Navarre have closed to musket range and fired with some effect..  Schomberg have quietly slipped down the reverse slope holding themselves in readiness..

Turn 9 - the action begins to warm up!  You'll note the French cavalry is swinging round the French right flank - not difficult to see who their target is...

End Turn 9On the hill, in a double assault Schomberg's and the infantry to their right (Derring's) charge forward at Navarre who fail to stop either of them closing, and in the ensuing bloodbath, flee (red pin again signifying rout)..  Regiment Saintonge have taken Navarre's place..  and we have the Wild Geese as back stop..

 Stay tuned for part 2 - I have to say that it's difficult to see this as being anything other than a draw but time will tell...
Current butchers bill...
French have lost 5SP's (strength points - each unit starts with 6)  - 2 from the cavalry, 3 from Navarre. The Allies have lost 1SP (from Derring's) - despite two successful charges, Schomberg's remain un-bloody..
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