Saturday, January 13, 2018

Cowpens 2018

Welcome to 2018!

New Year, new/old projects are on the horizon.  My gaming goal/resolution for 2018 is to finally complete some projects that have been ongoing for a few years now.  like many gamers I have the infamous "lead pile" which these days is just as much plastic as it is lead anymore.
Washington's Dragoons (Perry)
Mounted Militia (Perry)
Delaware and Maryland Continentals (Perry Plastic)
Virginia Continentals (Perry)
One of these projects is the huge pile of AWI figures I purchased during one of the amazing Warlord Sprue sales.  Late last year I decided I would finally enter the Southern Theater and my first project will be Cowpens.
Virginia Militia (Perry)
Combined Militia (Perry)
I chose Cowpens because I had the opportunity to visit the battlefield in Sept 2016 and it is a smaller very manageable scenario.  I am planning to use the scenario from the Black Powder Rebellion book to start out. Once The OoB is complete I will use remaining troops to model other units that served in the Southern theater so we can eventually expand to other scenarios.
North Carolina Militia (Perry)
South Carolina Militia
Riflemen (Perry)
At this point I have all the troops and have been diligently working on assembling and painting.  I have also enlisted the help of Mark and Karl for painting to realistically finish this project this year.
17th Light Dragoons (Perry)
Legion Detachments (Perry)
So far the Americans a pretty much complete I may eventually sub in some specific characters figures for the leaders, but the units are now ready for battle.
Tarleton (Fife and Drum)
71st Foot (Old Glory)
The British are taking a bit longer as I did need to order a few unique figures to for the legion cavalry and infantry.  Additionally, I wanted to make sure the army had the Southern look, so it required assembling many figures with the hats turned down instead of re purposing.  The good news is the last of the legion units have arrived and everything missing is in the process of painting and should be ready soon.

Scenario OoB
American Forces
British ready for Paint
Once Cowpens is complete I will use the remaining figures to round out a few more units and then either assemble the rest as individual figures for skirmish games like Sharp Practice or liquidate the remaining sprues.
Still Pending Assembly
It always feels good to have a plan and be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Return to Bolt Action Game Night

This week saw return to Bolt Action after an extensive hiatus.  There are a few new players in the area, so we coordinated a game night at a local game store, Misty Mountain in Madison, WI.
French List
German List
We ended up with eight players and four games going.  My son Justin, who is home from college, brought his friend Austyn and they faced off U.S.vs. IJA.  Brian K. faced Brian B. U.S. vs British Commandos. Ben fought against Neil with Soviets against Germans.
Battlefield from the French Side
Phil felt up to the challenge of taking on my early war French with his early war Germans.  We rolled for a scenario and came up with Demolition.
French push up the center after deploying gun
I was placed my objective in a building and Phil placed his in a wood line sheltered by a stream.  We both had units in out flank my Vet Cavalry and FFL  and he had a 251 filled with Pioneers.  Phil also put his PzIV in reserve.
Char2C and Gun open on German in building
It was clear we were both very rusty on the mechanics, but it came back quickly with a few book references.  After we were done I realized neither of us had used the officer ability of "You men snap to it" to activate additional units which could have been useful on a few occasions.
Tank stand off
The Germans placed a squad defending the base along with a light gun.  After advancing a 2nd squad forward it quickly became pinned down in a building and was forced to go down as the Char 2C rolled up and concentrated some fire on it.

 I started out fairly conservative on the defense with the intent of leaving a regular squad, MMG, and light howitzer along with the Char 2C to defend my base.  Everything else advanced forward to threaten his base.
French press the center
I had to bring my FFL in on outflank on turn three to deal with the mortar that was threatening what was left of my Medium gun.

The Cavalry came in on turn four to join the FFL, and the remnants of my regular squad pushing through the center to threaten the German base.
German flank is in the air
The tank battle was a non factor with no real A.T. assets to knock them out.  The Germans did manage to pin the Char 2C which neutralized it for 2 turns due to horrible command rolls.
Panhard scores a critical kill
Turn five was critical as the Pioneers had to come in from outflank after failing on turn four.  I felt confident I could deal with this threat and take the German base by the end of the turn.  I did take the precaution of placing my Panhard in ambush.
German offense is quickly stunted
The Pioneers came in and the Panhard took the long range shot achieving a hit and acing the half track.  More importantly, this caused the pioneers to take a loss bail out and go down.
Defenders of France are poised to face any threat
At the end of turn five Phil realized resistance was futile as it was now impossible to threaten the French base and three units were in position to take his base by the end of turn six with little to defend it.
German base on the verge of capture
All in all it was a god game and nice to knock the rust off Bolt Action.  I plan to play in an event at the end of January and Adepticon in March, so I need to refresh myself on the rules.

The group plans to make Thursday evenings at Misty a regular thing again and I hope to make it at least twice a month.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Rorke's Drift Refight -Part 2

This week saw the epic conclusion to a truly great game of Black Powder Using the BP basic rules along with scenario specifics I found courtesy of another gamers blog (Eric The Shed).

You can find the scenario here:
Rorke's Drift Scenario

If you missed part 1 you can find it here:
Rorke's Drift Refight-Part 1

To remind you we had completed two back to back active phases with the Zulu inflicting some damage on the British defenders taking out three of twelve British units along with Color Sergeant Borne at the cost of only three of thirty nine war bands lost. 
British take advantage of the lull to regroup
The group reassembled with eight players total.  Mark, Rob Justin and Jared commanded the Zulu and Brian P., Brian C, Scott and Curt resumed command of the British.
Hospital set ablaze
This week started with Phase 3of 12 which had to be a passive phase per the scenario rules.  The Zulu recovered some morale, as did the British.  The British also redeployed consolidating their defenses and going back to work on some barricades.  The respite would not last long though as Zulu immediately returned after only one passive phase for a active phase.
Threat looms from the road
The Zulu attacked toward the hospital and up the main road in an attempt to gain the advantage.  a small contingent also broke off and came through the karal.  Again, the British found they had their hands full and had to abandon the work on the barricade wall to pick up their rifles and pitch into the battle.
Zulu close with British in the open
It was a close run affair and the Zulu were not able to gain a clear advantage.  As it was the third active phase the Zulu morale had lost the +1  and they quickly realized that breaking British units would be a tough road from here on out.
"To the angle Lads"
Two British units were put at  stamina and most had used their free break test, but the Zulu were quickly stacking up casualties as well.
"Drive em back Boys"
When it was clear that the steam was completely gone the Zulu wisely decided to withdraw.  In the process the defenders were able to pour in a galling fire causing even more carnage to the beaten down attackers.  When the smoke cleared it was realized that one of the four IMPI were broken and now out of the fight.
Reconsolidation during the lull
The Zulu now needed to take their time to reorganize and tend to the wounded.  As a result three passive phases were played in a row.  The British took full advantage in caring for their casualties as well as resuming building.  In the three phases that passed they constructed the redoubt and again went to work on the wall.
To Arms!  They are still out there
In was the start of phase eight and approaching midnight in the game.  The Zulu came back from three directions under the cover of darkness.  Visibility was limited to 12" and command was -1 for both sides.  The Hospital was still burning which provided some visibility, but otherwise the British were blind.
Zulu cautiously advance under the cover of darkness
The phase developed very slowly as the Zulu seemed a bit skittish to step off  with their attack as only one of the three IMPI involved made their command rolls the first three turns of this phase.  The British hearing noises took advantage to again abandon building barricades and redeploy to the yard outside the store house and around the redoubt.
Here they come again......steady....steady ......FIRE!
Just when we thought it was becoming anticlimactic all three Zulu IMPI rushed forward to engage the Red Coats.  The store house was set ablaze and the Zulu swung around to attack again from the Karal, road, north wall, and through the store house simultaneoulsy.
Stout hearts can still win the day
Closing fire was limited to one round due to visibility and the Zulu were able to close.  The Queen's stout defenders held firm until a fatal chink in the armor revealed itself and a Zulu war band achieved an unlikely win.  To make matters worse the British defenders broke and ran when they rolled snake eyes.  Seeing this calamity unfold next to them the unit in support also broke and ran.  Bringing the total British units lost up to six.  The Zulu knowing they only needed one more unit to break or go to stamina were like sharks with blood in the water.
Weakness Exposed!
HUZZAHHH! (Justin, Rob, Mark, Jared)
The very next attack resulted in the already wounded British defender taking a third hit and going to stamina.  The British now knew the game was up.  Seeing as though it was already past normal quitting time three of them expressed their gratitude and left for the evening.  Kurt being a good sport decided to play it out for the remaining attacks to see the final bloody result.
Run Away!
Enough Already! (Scott, Brian C., Brian P.)
At this point the game looked very cinematic as the Defenders were pushed back to the redoubt with Zulu all around them.
Hold to the Last Lads....hold to the Last!
The remaining attacks were played out and in the end the British lost a total of seven units and had another at stamina giving  the Zulu a decisive clear cut victory by routing the British force per the scenario conditions.  There was a cost though as the Zulu lost a total of fifteen war bands which included the entire IMPI that was routed.
It was a good fight...there are just to many of them
All in all this was a tremendous game.  It was very back and forth with both sides at one point or another claiming the deck was unfairly stacked against them.  It is not often that we get to play a game out to clear cut victory conditions, so this was a very satisfying result for all involved, well OK maybe not all the British players.
Roll Call of the lost (7 Units + Borne, Chard, and Bromhead)
Full Credit to Eric who designed this scenario.   It is extremely well done and feels good while you are playing as it is equally tough for both sides.  This was by far the best the Zulu had done.  Both sides managed their troops well, setting the conditions for either side to obtain victory.  If not for a horrible break test we may not have been able to call this one a Zulu victory.
Turn the tracker I designed to keep track of the phases and 6 active phases
If you have the troops and the time I encourage everyone to give this scenario a try.  As I have all the terrain I know we will be coming back to it for future conventions or just a private game.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Guilford's Courthouse (RFF AWI Variant) Part 2

After a lengthy break while Mark vacationed with family in sunny Florida the group reassembled to resolve this heated engagement.
Continentals re-establish control of the hill
You can find Part one here:

Gulford's Court House Part 1

We are using the Regimental Fire and Fury variant rules for AWI for this scenario.  If you recall the British have managed to roll up the Militia defenders with only a few militia units surviving.  The King's troops and are now facing the vaunted Continental third line under the direct command of Greene.
British close to close quarters
The Continentals had ventured forward last time to face the combined British and Hessian threat on the left with the support of the few Militia that made it back.  It was soon realized that this was a mistake as this new salient was now under fire from infantry as well as the Artillery Cornwallis had brought up.
British Artillery providing close support
The Continentals were able to withdraw, but sustained some serious casualties while inflicting casualties on the British attackers.  Both sides were now in heavy casualties and the the Americans had sustained greater losses.  As a result the game was a draw at this point as the Continentals held the key position.  The British only opportunity to win was to take the key position which was not impossible, but would be a hard road.
Continental right hold as British Legion charges.
Fortunately for Cornwallis the Americans were not able to inflict the casualties they previously had as the British units made their final assault.  It was now clear that the game was going to come down to the last turn and the Hessian unit was the last opportunity to snatch a victory away.
Final Assault goes in on turn 14 to decided the game
By the narrowest of Margins the Hessian broke through the Militia and with a break through charge were able to drive back the weakened continentals and gain the key position securing victory for the British and Lord Cornwallis.

Once again the group really enjoyed how RFF played for the AWI period.  We have provided some feedback to Rich (rules author) for some minor tweaks specifically on how cavalry could be adjusted for this period, but nothing that reduced our enjoyment of the game.

Playing this scenario reinvigorated my interest in the period.  So much so my next project is already underway.....Cowpens and the Southern Campaign.