Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Return to Minden-town (Game 2)

The first game having ended in a mere 20 minutes, we quickly reset and played a second game All the Kings Men with most of the same changes as before intact, but put color-downgrading back in for musketry (but movement was still free).  This arrested the casualty free-fall effect seen in the first game's few musketry exchanges, although honestly units were still running across the board too quickly and freely, which at times ruined that lovely "linear tactics" look of 18th century games (fortunately the movement bases countered that a bit).  Lesson learned is that AtKM's color downgrade system is fine as it is.

This second game went better for the Allies, although it teetered on edge of disaster.  As before the French fearlessly advanced into the face of the Hanoverian artillery and overran the guns, and as before the infantry on the Allied left faired poorly, but on the third reshuffle of the deck, the Allies hit a ridiculous run of cards, and the British, Brunswickers, and Hessians on the Allied right surged forward and broke the Grenadiers de France to steal the win.

Below: the French overrun the Allied guns for the second time.

Above and below: the game-winning push by the Allied right against the Grenadiers de France.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Return to Minden-town (Game 1)

I just re-situated my games table to the opposite corner of the basement, where it 'floats' with not one edge pushed up against a wall.  This is visually more appealing and also increases the playing-board significantly – when the table was up against a wall, one would unconsciously cede up to 12" of that part of the table because the wall was there.  We broke out the long unseen 54mm Seven Years War collection and ended up having two inaugural games (since the first game ended so quickly – see below) with this new set-up. 

The games featured only the "BMC" figures (named after sculptor Bill McMaster) since some of my cavalry units (modified HAT Napoleonic dragoons) were damaged, and I never thought they matched up very well stylistically with the BMC artillery and infantry.  So there we had it: five battalions or companies or whatever of Allied (mostly Hanoverians with some Hessians, Brunswickers, and British) infantry supported by two guns versus six units of French infantry also supported by two guns.  The paint schemes and banners are all drawn from the orders of battle for Minden in 1759.  These games were not a re-fight of the actual Minden – but Minden is its inspiration.

We used the All the Kings Men rules, but I made some changes – (1) ditched the deuce and joker card draw effects; (2) turned the King card effect into rally one unit back to green status; (3) ditched all rules for generals; (4) ditched downgrading color for anything other than taking casualties or being in melee; (5) added activation to rally and upgrade by one color level; (6) units are movement bases, so no figure removal; and (7) added simple victory conditions of automatic victory if you could get two units in contact with opposite board edge ("breaking the enemy lines"), which seemed reasonable given lack of cavalry.

Above and below: Hanoverian troops on the Allied left.

Below: fighting in the woods.

Below: the French advance begins.

Above and below: French units victorious in the center.

The lack of color downgrading meant that a good run on the card draws ended up with the French advancing clear across the field in the face of the Hanoverian artillery unscathed and knocking both out without taking a single casualty or any kind of fatigue at all! Artillery in fact was completely useless, since targeted units were always at green (so counter-rolls to cancel hits against artillery fire were always on a 4+, and since they were rolling 12 dice vs. the artillery's 8, it was a bit of a non-contest). 

The game lasted about 20 minutes and saw both Allied artillery units plus two infantry units put to flight, which equaled more than half so the entire army withdrew from the field.

Monday, July 24, 2017

PDX Metro Saga Players

Seven of us met up at Guardian Games to play Saga. Almost everyone played two games.  Factions included Irish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxons, Pagan Rus, Vikings, and Crusaders. Good times!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pikeman's Lament Big Battle

This was intended to be another session of Pike & Shotte, which we have played many times, but instead ended up being a double-sized Scots vs. Royalists game of Pikeman's Lament, with the 'big battle' optional house-rule of no figure removal.  We played the 'På' scenario although we probably failed to either properly scale it up or did not fully recognize how many units would actually need to be routed or destroyed before only 10 units remained! 
Early portions of the game were enjoyable since units are very easy to move around in PL, but things got tricky later on, with turn-overs increasing in frequency as both sides struggled to engage in musketry.  The Royalist cavalry did the heavy lifting with repeated wild charges (all six units had the 'aggressive' rule, which costs 0 points and increasing the Attack 'to-hit' to 3+ but adds the 'wild charge' rule), routing several Scottish units.  The Scots then got wily by getting their pikes into 'close order' (increases Defense 'to-hit' to 3+) then creeping within 10" of a Royalist cavalry unit, triggering a wild charge and causing the cavalier to fall upon formed pike.  The tactical lesson learned was that all pike should probably form into 'close order' after one or two regular moves.  'Close order' makes Move activation a little more tricky (a 6+) but Attack and Defense 'to-hit' are both increased by 1.

Actual game play was only two and half hours, we think, and Pikeman's Lament can certainly handle the larger forces.  The simple addition of no figure removal gives a 'big battle' feel without changing any other rules.  If the 'På' scenario is used again, a 'score-board' of some sort that clearly tracks how close the game is to ending would help - we were calculating on the fly!

Below is the moment before the main bodies of foote for both sides came into contact - and a 'hot mess' ensued!

The points for both sides were as follows:


4 lancer units @4 points each: 16 points
2 pike unit @4 pts each = 8pts
4 musketeer units @4 pts each = 16pts
2 light guns @ 4pts each = 8pts
1 frame gun unit (consisting of 2 frame guns, count entire unit as one light gun) @ 4pts

Total: 52 points


6 cavalry units @4 each (includes wildcharge +0 pts) 24pts
2 pike unit @4 pts each = 8pts
2 musketeer units @4pts each: 8 pts
2 command shot units @2pts each: 4 pts
1 light gun @ 4pts

Total: 48 points

Both sides, upon rolling double sixes on an activation, subsequently rolled to gain a unit of reinforcements.  The Royalists took a musketeer unit and the Scots a lancer unit.