Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Captain Darling and the Great Antipodean Adventure

Captain Darling and the Great Antipodean Adventure
The Very Australian Civil War
Or a bit more accurately;
A Rather Violent Australian Civil Disturbance...

Well I'm off on another whim! I'm embarking on a new skirmish game campaign featuring Captain Darling! Even though the good Captain will be involved I'll be posting these games here on the TSOG Blog as it takes place after the age of Victoria and Steam!  This idea came about after I bought some already painted VBCW Warlord and Footsore figures recently for use as WW II partisans but then I thought to myself, "Hey why not combine them with my WW I Aussies and a few WW II Brits for some 'Very Australian Civil War' action?". I also have some vehicles that would be suitable plus it would be fun to make up some armoured civilian vehicles. Of course the Captain will be a little older well not much as he appears to age slowly (sinister music) but he'll feature in the story line and even the battles! Yeah I know I still haven't even finished the Russians Are Coming Campaign yet but never fear it's still on the go and will continue to its conclusion!

Australia in the 1920's and 1930's due to its sparse population density and an overall low level of industrialisation was not likely to be able to maintain a fully fledged war of State against State engulfing the continent even if the intent existed. That said there were examples of political extremism and even secession during the period. I'm thinking I would like my 'Australian Civil War' to have a some sort of grounding in actual history so I'll be setting it in 1932 with such events in mind. I envisage the constitutional crisis in NSW during 1932 as a trigger sparking off a violent conflict between Unionists and the Conservative Federal Government of the time. Various Political and Religious factions will obviously make appearances as they take advantage of the chaotic situation to put their two cents worth in, or in the currency of the time their tuppence worth in!

May 12 1932 and Captain Darling reclined in his Chesterfield sipping on a fine port, drawing on a hand rolled cheroot and perusing his favoured broadsheet. As he read he wriggled in his seat and the supple leather conformed to his every movement he sighed with content as he sunk further and further into the lounge. He shook his head as yet again the headlines were filled with news of the continuing constitutional crisis in NSW. He thought to himself the sooner the Governor of NSW dismissed the Leftie Pinko Premier Lang the better, he made a mental note to himself to write a missive to Governor Sir Philip Game on the morrow. At this point he decided to 'pull stumps' and retire as he believed tomorrow could be a very long day....

I'll flesh out the infamous constitutional crisis that occurred in NSW during 1932 in future posts on this campaign but if you're interested there's quite an good account of it on Wikipedia...

Here's a picture of some of the vehicles and figures that'll be getting a run in this campaign!

Oh not sure whether I'll go with TW&T or FUBAR rules for this campaign still thinking about that. Also I may devise an end of game process where troops may 'evolve' (or perhaps even devolve) as the campaign continues...

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Longstreet House Rules - Morale & Move/Charge Phase

My mates and I are looking at starting a full nine game campaign after the success of our three game pre-Gettysburg one. For this campaign though I'm going to see if there's interest in a couple of House Rules before we start...

House Rule One
I have always thought in Longstreet our Regiments always fighting to the last man...we'll last stand at least without a single hesitation to get stuck in isn't quite right. Now I don't want to break a game I really enjoy but I've tried quite successfully a simple set of morale rules that don't add much game time and add in flavour where depleted units aren't so eager to charge and get you that extra Epic Point!

There is a morale phase at the beginning of each player turn.
Any Infantry or Cavalry regiments (ignore Artillery) that have 5 or fewer bases roll 1D6.
The Die modifiers for this roll are; -1 if in cover -1 if any leader is attached.
If the result is greater than the number of bases in the regiment it fails its morale for that turn.
Failure means that unit can't charge this turn or move closer to any enemy units, it can fire, move sideways, move to the rear, change formation etc...
A natural 1 on the morale roll means that the unit withdraws at 1/2 speed directly to the rear retaining facing (it will keep going to clear any units) this is done at the beginning of the action phase regardless of the option the player selects Charge, Move or Pass...

House Rule Two
Every person I introduce these rules too has the same comment, a bit like when someone first enters the TARDIS and says 'hey it's bigger on the inside' for Longstreet they say 'what do you mean my units can't move and charge in the same turn?!?'. So here it is I've introduced a forth option for players in addition to Pass, Move and Charge...the Move & Charge option! It costs double the cards though so watch your card burn rate! This House rule hasn't been fully tested yet so unlike House Rule One this one is open to tweaking.

To initiate a Move & Charge phase the player must discard TWO cards. This enables units to be able to move OR charge in this phase.
A THIRD card must be played to enabled Difficult Charges/Moves.
A FORTH card may be played to assist either the charges or the moves being carried out in the phase.
i.e.  a card enabling extra movement and another card enhancing a charge is not allowed, you can only assist either the moves or the charges with a card.
All Charges must be nominated and completed before the Move 'moves' are carried out.
Stacking must be adhered to at all times at the end of the charge move so a charging unit CAN NOT occupy any part of the the footprint of another unit, even if said unit will eventually move out of its current location latter in the phase.

I'll put these to the guys and look forward to seeing their reaction. All four people that are involved have played Longstreet before, all enjoy the game and all have been puzzled by the inability of forces to move & charge at the same time so their reactions will be interesting. I'll post what they say and then of course when we eventually start the campaign if we go ahead with either of these I'll keep everyone up to date!


Sunday, 27 August 2017

Tranchworx 28mm French FT 17 Tank

To compliment my 1940 French infantry I need some armour support and what better than the ubiquitous FT 17 tank! in 1940 the French still had around 500 FT 17 in front line use for infantry support. Plus I love the look of this vehicle!

I picked up this kit as part of Trenchworx WW II Kickstarter you could add anything from their shop to the Kickstarter!

The model looks spot on and the casting is crisp, it just falls together! The kit includes both gun and MG options and these are interchangeable via a magnet setup. All in all a great product!

Here are the parts primed: 

Base coat sprayed on:

The fished product, I went for a kit without the trench crossing attachment and didn't apply any markings one day when I know someone with a 1940 French tank kit I'll see if I can snag any left over transfers:

28mm French 1940 Platoon - TW&T

I picked up some 1940 French figures cheap. After purchasing them I found out they were Warlord figures there were 30 in total, 10 of which were painted. I painted them up to a war gaming standard and I went for a khaki brown uniform look rather than the greenish colour I see some people use (this meant repainting the 10 that were painted!). Pictures like this one from the German Signal magazine influenced the colour choice...

I have 3 9 man sections, a 2 man platoon HQ and a Hotchkiss HMG, that is actually a WW I item with 2 crewman but they pass okay for WW II and they have a Warlord figure to boost them up...

Here's a close up of some of them...

And here they all are...

With 1940 interest peaked by the Dunkirk movie I'm thinking a game on the topic is called for!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Battle of Quatre Bras - Blucher AAR

Well we've played our second Napoleonic game using Blucher rules, the Battle of Quatre Bras. We repeated history with the French being forestalled and the Allied army securing a victory by holding the vital crossroads.

We played with a couple of 'house' variations on the rules:

Units retained hidden/concealed status when activated as long as they stayed over 8 BWs from the enemy or closer than that but out of the enemy's line of sight (don't retain reserve movement).
Artillery units remained on the table when they reached their last ammo value and were able to continue firing at that rate, the player still retained the option to retire them if they wished.

Both sides victory conditions were:

Breaking the enemy army
Occupying Quatre Bras, Gemioncourt & Thyle at the end of the game (in red on map below)

An Overview of the battle:

the above map is the Cigar Box product

1. Foy & Jeromes Infantry Divisions, captured Gemioncourt late in the game, Foys Division took heavy casulaties, Pires Light Cavalry Division deployed to their left.

2. Bachelus Infantry Division attempted to capture Thyle they were stalled by Allied Brigades and by the end of the game they were spent taking heavy losses.

3. Pires Light Cavalry Division & Guitons Cuirassiers charged the Allied army Hubers Brigade breaking through as far as Quarte Bras scattering Kielmansegge Brigade in the process heavy losses were inflicted and taken!

4. Lefebvre-Desouettes Guard Light Cavalry Division arrived on the last French turn and deployed in the centre of the French line strengthening it against the Allied armies general counter attack.

Bylandt & Bernards Brigades were deployed initially defending Gemioncourt they were pushed back Blyandts Brigade was dispersed as it retreated by Hubers Brigade.

I. Merlens Cavalry, Kempt & Bests Infantry Brigades covered Thyle, Merlens Cavalry deployed to the French centre hampering their attacks on Gemioncourt, Packs Brigade garrisoned Quatre Bras it later assisted recapturing Gemioncourt on the penultimate turn of the game.

II. Halkett, Kielmansegge & Brunswick Brigades defended line between Bossu Wood and Gemioncourt, they took heavy losses but stopped the french attenpt to successfully advance on Quatre Bras.

III. Guards Division arriving late in the battle deployed to the allied centre and assisted in recapture of Gemioncourt.

IV. The Allied attack to recapture of Gemioncourt Halketts reduced Brigade taking the prize. Hussah!

The initial set up Neys troops in  the foreground with Quatre Bras in the (far) distance! Its 2:00pm let the battle begin!

The French IInd Corps lines up to take on the 'lonely' 2nd Butch Division holding Gemioncourt Farm.

Their infantry repulsed from Gemioncourt farm the French cavalry deploy to their left to outflank the Allied forces. Top centre of the picture concealed is the Merlens Cavalry, Kempt & Bests Infantry Brigades heading to Thyle. In the top right Bachelus Infantry Division is advancing on the same objective!

The Duke of Brunswick deploys Buttlars infantry and Cramms Cavalry to block the French advance on Quatre Bras as a brigade from the 2nd Dutch Division withdraws.

The face off in the vicinity of Thyle.

Foys Division in the centre attack Gemioncourt again! To their right Jeromes infantry Division are attempting to attack Gemioncourt while covering Merlens cavalry just out of picture. To Foys left the French cavalry charged with varying degrees of success!

5:00pm Wellington and more Allied reinforcements arrive around to support the Brunswick troops in their battle with the French horsemen.

With the 'fate of France' in his hands Foy captures Gemioncourt!

Hubers horsemen ignoring Packs Brigade in Quatre Bras routes Kielmansegge Brigade but it leaves them isolated (sort of replicating Guitons Cuirassiers actual charge in the battle they hammered two Allied brigades and reached Quarte Bras but were left in a dangerous position)! Wellingtons command retinue is in the foreground of the pictured...

The face off at Thyle continues!

The French cavalry are spent, both of Pires brigades have been dispersed, the French artillery battery is running low on ammunition and Foys men at Gemioncourt now face the resurgent Allies freshly reinforced with the British Guards Division...Merde!

A final attack by Bachelus Infantry on the French left results in disaster! Hitting on 4's with three dice they got TRIPLE ONE! they got zero hits to the Allies four...lucky an attacking unit can only take a maximum of two losses!

The centre of the battlefield at the end of the game, Halketts brigade has retaken Gemioncourt and is supported by four more brigades two of which are the fresh British Guardsmen! Ney in the foreground to the right now has Lefebvre-Desouettes Guard Light Cavalry Division on hand to assist in halting the allied counter attack!

As a group we enjoy these rules and are going to revisit the Battle of Raab scenario soon to ensure we have our heads around them and the best tactics for the period. Personally I think given the balance of 'playabililty' vs realism Blucher gives gamers a set of rules that allows large battles to be recreated in a reasonable amount of time...