On New Year’s Eve (but well before cocktail hour!) Jon (Palouse Wargaming Journal) and I played a remote game by Skype. The rules were based upon those in Joe Morschauser’s book, How to play Wargames in Miniature. It was my second attempt at hosting a remote game, and some things went well, and others… didn’t. The new webcam installed easily and worked fine… except in Black and White!* I had planned to use my i-phone and i- pad as additional cameras to give different views of the table, but it looks like each needs a unique email address and username for that to work. I’ll have to try setting that up for the next attempt. Anyway, Jon kindly observed that the B&W images added to the “Old School” feel of the game. We both felt that we should perhaps have worn jackets for the game! I observed that it was a bit early in the day, even on the East Coast and on New Year’s Eve, for the proverbial glass of Port!
* I tried unsuccessfully to adjust the camera settings. An internet search after the game solved the issue- you can’t change the camera settings and have them take effect while Skype is running – you have to log out of Skype, then change the camera settings, then log back in to Skype. I did that, and it worked fine; I now have color with the webcam, just a day late!
Test set up for fit on one of my brown paper battlefields with a 4″ grid; 16 boxes in each direction, a little over 5 feet.
I went over the above grid with a thick black Sharpie (felt tipped pen) to make it heavier and more obvious for remote gaming. I chose a scenario from OHW; the river is everywhere fordable, but in order for the supply trains of the advancing armies to pass, control of both ends of both bridges is required. The ridges are from the items I acquired from Pastimes on the Square late in 2020. The fields are purely decorative.
Your host tying to set up his i-phone as an auxiliary camera.
Each army was identical, 8 units of Line Infantry, 2 Light Infantry, 2 Grenadiers, 2 batteries, 1 Heavy Cavalry and 2 Light Cavalry. I took the Swedes (near) and Jon the Russians (far). Each army had three command groups with the main effect being the ability of the Command group leader to attempt to rally losses off of one of his units once per turn. We alternated setting up one command group at a time
View from the Russian side after 2 moves, The combat is centering around the bridges, as expected. As soon as we started to shoot, it became apparent that the planned shooting rules would be far too bloody, and more like playing a WW1 game in the open! The rules were promptly adjusted by mutual consent (I’ll present them with thoughts in a separate post).
Mid game: The Russian Hussar had charged over the bridge, eliminating a unit of Swedish Jagers; on my move the Swedish Light Dragoons have countercharged!
At the other bridge, the battle of attrition favored the Swedes;t he Life Grenadiers have just charged across the bridge, eliminating one of Jon’s batteries. The dice in the background show that I got 3 hits (needing a 4 or less) rolling 6 dice, just enough to eliminate the artillery.
Late game overview- the far bridge is about to fall into Swedish hands; there is but one very battered Russian defender left (each “rock” represents a hit on the unit). At the near bridge, the Swedes are battered and vulnerable; only the Andra Lifguard opposite the bridge are in any kind of shape!
Situation at game’s end; Jon concedes , being down to just a battered unit of Pavlov Grenadiers and a battery for the Russians vs 2 batteries, 1 Line infantry and 1 Jager for the Swedes.
As expected, Jon was a gracious player and a lot of fun to game with. The rules were bloody, as expected, and need a few clarifications, a bit more robust command and control function, and some basic morale added to them. Still, they fit on one side of a piece of paper, and gave a game that lasted about 2 hours. If I had never fought a wargame before, they would be easy to pick up, and we both had fun playing the game. Although the mechanics of fighting are completely different, the game reminded me a lot of those that we played at the home of Charlie Sweet in Bristol, CT, way back when I was ages 18-22 (!), and also some later Napoleonic games at the home of Joe Polsen in Stamford, CT, using his beautifully painted Napoleonic collection.
Blunders On The Danube