Friday, 16 February 2018

One Fine Day in the Mediterranean...

Friday night at the club (NWA) I finally got to launch my completed Macedonian fleet. Thirty sleek and beautiful craft in all their colourful array. And a fine sight it was. Under the command of that famous strategos Testaceles the Sacker of Cities!

Their opponents were from a growing city state called Rome led by Rufus Gorringicus. How dare these Latin upstarts challenge the might of the successors of Alexander. They need to be taught a lesson in humility!

My fleet has 30 ships consists of: my flagship an Octares ~ (8), 2 Heptares (7's), 12 Quadriremes (4's) and 15 triremes (3's). The Roman fleet facing them was smaller with 25 craft with a Decares (10) as the flagship, 3 Sextares (6's) and 21 Quinqueremes (5's)

So my fleet was larger; but lighter and faster. The Romans; smaller but tougher. Mine had the Maneuver ability and the Romans had the Boarding ability.

The only terrain: A small island to my right.

 In the center, my flagship ~The Triton.

 And facing them, the upstarts. Waiting for a sound thrashing.

My cunning plan was this: To deploy with the island on my right with a squadron refused. The idea was to drift gradually to the left and allow room for the refused sqn to join the front line. This would allow me to create an overlap on the Roman flank. I also deployed a squadron of triremes on the other side of the island to try and lure one of the tougher Roman squadrons away from the fight before turning tail and using my greater speed to rejoin the center.

The first moves were quite simply moving forward. But, in my enthusiasm, I forgot that little part of my plan about drifting over to the left.

So we continued to move closer and I did remember to drift left but I underestimated the distance and didn't leave enough room for the refused squadron to fully deploy. As we closed the Romans got the jump on me and unleashed a barrage from their siege engines hurting me quite badly. My smaller triremes were not up to the Roman ships' ability to deal out damage.

My only option was to ram. But with that came the risk of being locked by the Roman corvii and boarded. And, those little planks you see below represent corvii.

The explosion tokens represent hull damage and as, you can see, my ships are sporting quite a few. That said, my opponent was using less dramatic black stars and there are quite a few of them on the table.

My ramming attack wasn't as bad for me as it looks. I wreaked the Roman ship on the right end of the line and captured the ship on the far end of the left. So far all of my craft were intact.

I even managed to create a gap in the Roman line and pushed a couple of ships forward. On my left I did manage to create that overlap and got a whole squadron of quadriremes around the flank.

Now, my rightmost squadron had lured the Romans away from the battle and I now turned to back into the center.

The center was starting to look chaotic and, despite a good start, I was beginning to get the worst of it. The Roman ability to lock onto my ships and board them was really beginning to show and a couple of them were captured (depicted by black smoke markers).

As the sun sets in the club canteen, the battle begins it's final phase...

In the next turn, I decided in a couple of places to take the fight to the Romans and paid dearly for my mistake. I managed to get some of my ships behind the Latin upstarts and inflicted some damage but not enough. One of my triremes was rammed by the Roman decares and was wreaked & smashed into flinders with ease.

The Triton, although slow, did get into the action and used its engines to damage a pair of Roman quinc's. But as the pic below shows almost my whole center was either captured or wreaked. I did manage to pull a couple of my ships out of the fight and I still had about 2/3 of my fleet intact. But I had lost one of my 7's and  it would have taken several turns to recall the squadron roaming in the Roman rear. So, there was nothing left to do other than retire and surrender the waters to the new kids on the seven seas.


We tried a few modifications to the rules: Ad Mere Bellum. Because of the size of the fleets we weren't happy with moving the entirety of one fleet and then the entire opposite fleet. The rules also allow for one side to have multiple turns in a row depending on activation cards drawn. So we opted for 1 card for each squadron with each card drawn allowing a squadron to be activated.

I'm not sure if this worked as well as we'd hoped. At first it was okay but it became confusing when the fleets locked together. Next time we're going to allow multiple activations with each squadron. That way it will negate the need to remember which squadrons have activated and which have not. It will also allow a player to ram and have the hope of withdrawing before getting locked into a boarding action. At the same time it will allow a boarder to really press the attack with a possible follow-up activation if they're gaining the upper hand.

The other thing we need to do is work on the tokens. Whilst I quite like the chaotic look it is difficult to lay them in place and keep track of them. Something a bit tidier but (unfortunately) less dramatic is needed.

We also need some "wreaked ship" tokens.

And here's a few extra pics taken by Russel and posted on the NWA Facbook page. He has a better eye for a photo than me.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

A Fistful of Thuringians

A fistful of what?

I finally finished my Thuringian Battalion. This is a battalion that was formed from various Saxon troops who were captured by the Prussians in 1813 and, who then turned turncoat and fought for the Prussians.

From what I understand (and information is scarce) the battalion was built around a core of Prussian light troops ~ in the pics those in dark blue coats with light blue facings. There are Saxon musketeers and light infantry, a bunch of Duchal Saxons and a bunch of other Confederation of the Rhine troops including; Saxe-Coburg voltigeurs, Anhalt voltigeurs, and Lippe-Detmold fusiliers.

Another interesting thing about this battalion is that the troops were drilled and organised along French line (following the direction of their respective armies). So they continued using the French methods that they were trained in.

I initially bought Calpe Saxons to make this unit but found out later that they were the wrong figures. Nevertheless, I decided to use the figures anyway and just paint them up as the troops listed above. Some may complain, but I don't care. These is my Thuringian Battalion.

Anyway, the Turingian Battalion is attached to the Leib Regiment and is often called the second Leib Fusilier battalion. They are a small unit by comparison to the other Prussian units so I modeled them as 18 figures with 6 companies of 3 figs each.

I like them and they were fun to paint with all their mismatched uniforms. I can't wait to get them onto the table.

I also love the commander. He came from the, now defunct, Warlords plastic
Landwher Infantry box. Definitely the only good figure in the whole set.

P.S. As many have said before me, these Calpe figures are very nice to paint.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

General d'Armee ~ Game 2

Greetings Folks, we tried another game of GdA today at NWA. This time it was a simple 1 on 1 with my Prussians facing Robin's French.

We set up on a fairly crowded 6' x 4' table which didn't leave much room for maneuver. But it was good in that our forces were close and we could get stuck in pretty quickly.

My Prussians have grown to 3 small infantry brigades each consisting of 1 regiment, each of 3 battalions with an artillery battery attached to the Reserve regiment. I also had a cavalry brigade with two units (part regiments). With the cav we decided that two squadrons would make a unit and each squadron would have 4 figures. This made things easy for the time being.

Robin pretty much equaled my forces although he did have more skirmishers, which ended up making a considerable difference.

The French take up positions amongst the wheat fields.

 My new Landwehr make their first apperance and make up my reserve.

My remounted Jaeger companies take up positions before the Leib Regiment.

The first turn and I got the initiative. All we did was move around a bit and try to jostle for position. By the end of the 2nd turn the French dragoons on my left flank had made a bold move forward to threaten my flank battalion. This is going to me messy, I thought to myself.

By turn 3 we rolled for ADC's and I only got 1 (for the second time). As predicted, the French Dragoons charged. They were within 9" so I didn't get the chance to form square. But my Reservists held their nerve and gave the Dragoons a decent volley. The charge procedure resulted in the dragoons retiring. My unit being in column and the casualties inflicted making the difference that saved them.

I the center there was some skirmish fire and my lads came off second best, although they did inflict some casualties on the Robin's chaps. We have to come to grips with the fact that the musket ranges are longer than the previous rules we played. As you can see, our skirmishers are very close to each other because we're use to it being that way. Fear not! We'll get use to things.

Robin learned that blazing away at skirmishers makes it easy to lose Fire Discipline.

The Frenchies move out of the fields and get ready to start trading volleys.

In the center I was trying to get my best troops the Leib Regiment into position to charge. But then an opportunity made itself available and my cavalry made the most of it. My Reserve regiment charged one of the French battalions supported the uhlans. The French infantry failed their Discipline Test and retired leaving the battery on their flank vulnerable. So I continued the charge into the guns (next available target).

The battery fire was deadly, causing 3 casualties and a discipline test. This time it was the my cavalry that failed and they reeled back to their starting positions.

The Leib getting into position.

On the left a firefight was developing. At first I came out worse with the skirmishers inflicting nasty casualties on my battery and my troops in column only doing half casualties. The battery was hitting the battalion behind but part of the full effect was being absorbed by the French skirmish line.

Eventually I got my infantry into position and launched an Infantry Assault. I learned from the last game to give them a ADC for a reroll AND Infantry Assault. And I needed that ADC  re-roll too!

I think we mucked up some of the Charge procedure but we ended up in Melee anyway. I wasn't sure if the battalion in the rear of the pic should also have gone into the fight. We'll have to work that out.

Anyway, Robin rolled 4 dice and I rolled about 9 and, would you believe it, we both only inflicted 2 hits. The fight was a draw and my chaps retired 3" and became Unformed

My guys were now in a bad position. The battalion on my left became unformed during the charge so in the next turn they had the choice to stand or make a voluntary retire move. Retire became the only option when the French moved up after I lost the initiative. So a voluntary retire to regroup was my cunning plan. Unfortunately the battalion on the right were in god order so could only Step Back. This left them in the open and vulnerable.

As you can see in the pic below, those advancing French made a tasty target for my cavalry but... Would you believe it? They failed their command roll. I had an ACD attached for a re-roll. They failed that too and became Hesitant!

Landwehr to the rescue! I made the decision to pull my reserve out and try to bolster the center.

Things only got worse.

The lead battalion got pummeled from all sides by shooting from skirmishers, a volley and artillery and ended up with 9 casualties. But they passed a Discipline Test with flying colours (double 6's) and held on. Then they shot and lost Fire Discipline as did the center battalion (by this time reformed). The French had formed square and any cavalry charge would be useless.

In the next turn I gave the brigade a Command Order to try and save them but some relentless fire just added more casualties to their total and it was a single Casualty Die that tipped them over the edge and the battalion dispersed.

This made the brigade Falter.

Next turn, a roll on the Faltering Brigade Table saw the brave men of the Leib Regiment retire and leave a big hole in the center that I could only fill with the Landwehr.

To add to this, the firefight on the left was going badly against me in some places and okay in others. But I my battery was looking shakey and so was one of the battalions.

So, a withdrawal was in order for the Prussians and the French claimed the victory.

"Vorvarts men. Zere is eine big hole in ze line!"

My assessment...

Well we played the game to a conclusion. It was only our second try and we got into the rhythm of things pretty easily. I think we played 11 turns. We had to refer to the rules a few times and I'm sure we mucked up the infantry assault somehow but those are things to work on.

My troops will grow by a couple of battalions and maybe a hussar regiment by the time we play our next game so I think a larger playing area will be in order (8'x6'). We were pretty cramped. Robin also needs to get out of the habit of crowding his battalions together. It's a throw-back to previous rules. I'm gonna make him pay the butcher's bill next time!

All in all, it was a really great game. a few times both of us thought we were in dire straights but got ourselves out of it. Unfortunately for me, I couldn't recover after the failed infantry assault.

One thing I did was count the Leib Regt as Elite. I don't think that was right. They are one of the premier Prussian regiments but I think they should be classed as Veteran. Elite rating makes them too good.