Thursday, 25 August 2016

Prussian Landwehr Test Sculpt

I need Landwehr for the two Prussian corps that I'm building. Unfortunately, I need about 180 of them. To me, that's a lot of figures and that means 'expensive' (especially if I buy them from Perry). I could get them from Elite Miniatures who have a distributor here in Australia but that still comes to a cost of bout $500 for the lot.

So, I decided to try sculpting them. The pic below is my test figure. I've never made any Napoleonic figures before and, when it comes down to it, these guys are a good starter due to their no-frills uniforms.

I'm quite happy with him for a first attempt and the photos don't really do him justice. Size-wise he'll fit well with Perry metals. He's a bit chunky next to their plastic Prussians but, then again, so are their own metals. I'll be taking him for a trip to Eureka for some critique later today.

I had to change the way I sculpt for this figure. Part of the reason for this is that I haven't sculpted for a while and I'm a bit rusty. However, the newer method I tried proved to be much easier. All it involved was using lots of smaller pieces of putty and using a different combo of tools.

Anyway, here's Landwehr Ludwig:

Saturday, 20 August 2016

August Napoleonic Game

After a couple of weeks rest from Napoleonic's we had another game last night at the club. I had a few more Prussians to put on the table this time around so my opponent Mike Goldyn added some Polish cavalry to forces. This time around we set up a simple table and set up on opposite edges and advanced towards each other.

I watched an episode of Battlground (the old Edward Woodwood TV show about wargaming) and noted that during each move the players would state what they were doing. So we tried doing this and it seemed to work pretty well. It seems that communication is an important factor when it comes to simultaneous movement. Because you're not reacting to enemy movement in "your move", stating your intentions clearly and carrying them out as stated make matters easier. If something happens that causes you to react differently that you stated there is the rule of taking 1/4 of a move to assess the changed situation and reacting accordingly.

Besides all that, we're going back to old school gaming and it seems the gentlemanly thing to do. So why not do it that way.

Anyway, the game started simply with both sides advancing. I pushed out my skirmishers on both flanks. I had my (new) gun battery deployed from the first move and they started a barrage from turn 1, inflicting some casualties on the Polish center.

We continued to advance with a Polish cavalry regiment making its presence know coming from the flank around some woodson the right. My fusilier battalion turned to face them and formed into a closed column. This formation, which isn't included in the rules, became a topic of confusion in later turns. My Fusilier company skirmishing out front made a dash for the protection of the nearby woods and became separated from their parent unit.

In the center, my guns continued their barrage and inflicted more casualties on the center Polish battalion. On the right a Prussian musketeer battalion formed line on the top of a hill and my two squadrons of uhlans advanced.

Turn three and both the Polish and Prussian cavalry charged. Prussian shooting caused a casualty on the Poles but it wasn't enough to stop them from charging home. On the right the Polish infantry formed square and brought fire to bear on the uhlans from the front and flank causing a single casualty. The flank fire, although not effective was enough of a factor to prevent their charging home and they retired in good order. But the Polish square took some casualties from the Prussian guns.

 On the flanks skirmishers from both sides fired on each other with some minor casualties caused but without any decisive outcomes.

Turn 4 - Because the Polish charge took the entire period of turn 4 to hit home the resulting combat didn't take place until turn 3. We didn't know what to do with the closed column so we decided on reduced factors as per a square. This seemed to work for the first round of combat where the Polish cavalry forced the Prussian closed column back. A morale test had the Prussians holding firm which triggered a morale test for the Poles who also passed the option to charge again.

The Skirmishing continued on the flanks with the same results as before. The guns gain opened up on the Polish center battalion who were now looking a bit battered. The uhlans retired voluntarily in good order.

Turn 5 - The Polish continued to advance in the canter but the poor center battalion were now in canister range and took a pounding but a morale test had them Halt where they were (not a good thing for the next turn - Had it happened!). Although by this time after 5 consecutive turns of firing the Prussian guns needed to rest.

So what happened?

The Polish cavalry pushed on into the Prussian column and this time hit them hard (5 casualties). This is where we got a bit unstuck. The closed column seemed to be completely ineffective. They may as well have been in a column of divisions.

We talked it over and called in some other fine fellows (Messers Jenkins and Gerhrad) for their opinions. We came to the conclusion that the closed column should be treated as a square if attacked from the front or rear but as a column if attacked from the flank. We also talked pros and cons of square v's closed column.

When you look at it Square provides the best formation v's cavalry. However it's static but also enables shooting from all sides. The closed column should be solid from the front or rear but only enables shooting from the front. On the plus side it's mobile.

We decided that squares don't get pushed back following a combat but they will suffer from being unformed like all other formations. Any resulting morale tests will normally see average troops holding firm but there is the likelihood that poor troops (Spanish/Neapolitan, etc...) could break and run. A closed column, because it's a mobile formation would be pushed back the 50mm for losing a combat as stated in the rules. It would also become unformed. But, like the square you could expect half decent troops to hold firm from resulting morale tests.

Likewise most cavalry, if they a forced to retire, could easily reform for a second try.

And something else to consider: The rules don't take into account cavalry being blown. There is no mention of this anywhere in the rules!

Another problem that arose from this melee was: If the cavalry's morale test results in "Charge" do they charge in the follow up round or are they just continuing to press the attack? We didn't solve this question because it got lost in all the talk of squares and closed columns.

Overall, it was another good game. We keep getting bogged down with situations that we can't easily solve but this is okay. The idea of all these small games (apart from the fact that my forces are still quite small) is to hammer the rules into good working order. The other basic aspects- movement, shooting, formation changes, etc... has become faster and we can pretty much calculate things without referring to the charts. Some of this is down to making movement and formation changes into general concepts and removing them from the National Characteristics quagmire.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Some Prussian Guns

I've been continuing to paint Prussians and I've finally finished my first foot artillery battery. We decided to make batteries using multiple models. In the NCiM rules a battery is a single gun on a triangular base with 10mm per gun but in keeping with our like of large battalions of many figures we decided on many guns too.

We also decided to mount our guns on a 20mm per gun basis. This makes a 8 gun battery with a frontage of 160mm. So, I decided to mount mine as two bases of 3 guns with the 2 howitzers on a separate base. It looks like a proper wargaming battery with plenty of movement and also looks intimidating. I mounted the figures on individual bases so that I can remove casualties and also, if they ever abandon their guns they will be shot!... No, no, no... if the crews abandon their guns I can remove the figures and leave the guns in place.

Now I just need a limber.

I like to think of them as the 15th Battery who (at Waterloo at least) were commanded by Leutnant Meerkatz (I imagine him popping up here and there on his tippy toes and looking around with his little paws up to his chest)

I also painted up a second squadron of Uhlans - Brandenburg Uhlan Regiment - There's only 8 of them at the moment as I'm waiting on more figures from Perry to finish them off. They'll be arriving with a regiment of Brunswick Uhlans which will be painted up as the 3rd Silesian Landwehr Cavalry.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Links for printable NCiM QRS

Greetings Folks,

For those interested I've finished the Quick Reference Sheets for Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature. They're pretty much the same as the previous layouts but there are a couple of changes. The most notable layout change is on the National Characteristics page.

After a few test games it became apparent that the Prussian Fusiliers were under stated. Where the skirmish troops of most other nations had a fire factor of 2 or 3, Prussian fusiliers had a fire factor of 1. I believe that this came about because Quarrie decided that they didn't skirmish and thought of them as fusiliers in the French vein (ie: regular line infantrymen). Why he didn't equate them with British fusiliers (fire factor 3) is a mystery. However, in order to find a balance I made them Fire Factor 2 and increased their Melee Impact to 2 also. After all, they were the best trained battalions in their respective regiments.

Also, something that I neglected to mention in my last post about these charts, I added an improved weather chart for those who like to include weather. The rules for weather were a bit static so I made them a bit more dynamic so that you don't have to end up with Heavy Rain for the entirety of a game.

Anyway, here are some Dropbox links for two full A3 sized print quality sheets. These are designed for double sided printing onto A3 card stock. Print it. Fold it and you have a nice little QRS with all the charts (and other stuff hidden away in the text) in one place.

Hmmm... It seems that these links wont link. So copy and paste them into your browser and you should be able to access them. If this doesn't work let me know. Cheers.

And for those of you who would prefer single A4 sheets here are the links for those too:

P.S. If I didn't mention it previously, I also invented a Random General Generator to create factors for a random, non historical, general.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Another NCiM Test Game

Another game of Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature was called for so that we can become better re-acquainted with the rules and start making some changes to the basic play.

The rules themselves, after a few games, seem pretty solid. The movement, shooting, calculation of casualties and such things are all starting to fall into place so that the speed of play has quickened compared to our initial games. The major stumbling block that we came across today (and previously) is Melee Results.

Like shooting, the rules for melee itself are pretty solid but the resulting morale and control tests are confusing. It took us the better part of the final hour of the game to sort out a workable solution which goes like this:

a) - The loser of the melee immediately retires 50mm and takes a morale test. (This is straight from the rules)
b) - In the following turn the results of the Morale test are enacted as a "Compulsory Move" if the result is Retire, Retreat or Rout. (This is something we will introduce as part of a "Turn Sequence" thingy).

c) - Regardless of the result the winner of the melee (in the previous turn) will now take their Control Test. This could result in the winner Retiring, Holding, making a Controlled Advance or Running Amok! (Well, variations on these themes anyway).

But I must say, I'm writing this from memory and our solution may be slightly different. I did take notes but I don't have them on my right now.

Anyway, here's some pics from the game.
Note: my nice new gaming mat that I made during the week!

The Polish brigade advances onto the table and start to shake out.

A couple of well dressed Polish officers chewing the fat overlooking the battlefield.

I finished my first squadron of the Brandenburg Uhlan Regiment.

They did about as well as they did last time. I really need to add to their numbers.

 I also had a troop of three 6pdr guns which made a surprise appearance and helped drive back the Polish battalion on the far right of the picture with some nasty fire down their flank.
Not bad for their debut.

On the Prussian left, skirmishers from the fusilier battalion of the 8th Leib traded shots with their Polish counterparts. As the main body of the battalion retired due to the deployment of a Polish gun battery, the skirmishers fell back.

The Fusilier battalion continued to retire in order to face toward the Poles emerging from the woods.
Skirmish combat in NCiM can take place a very close ranges. Notice in the second pic below that the fusiliers' number were significantly reduced.

The Poles setting up the melee combat that was to bring the proceedings to a halt. 
The Prussians were pushed back. Although casualties on both sides were light, the Prussians, being out front of the main position were unsupported and the morale test resulting from the melee would have had them retreating. What we couldn't work out was when. And what did this mean for the Poles who made a Control Test with the result of Hold or Advance if you so desire. 

All very confusing at the time.

I don't seem to have any pics, but on the right my Freiweilliger J├Ąger did well. They drew in two Polish battalions and, using the cover of the wood, managed to first drive off the Polish voltigeurs and then, with the help of the 6 pdr detachment, force the one of the battalions back.

Well done men!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Quick Reference Sheets for NCiM

Well, I've been busy during the week putting together a QRS. for Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature.

After playing a game the week before it became apparent the skipping through the book looking for charts and with a bunch of printed PDF casualty charts all over the table it seemed that a nice laminated, good quality, fully functional  QRS was required. So I got down to it. and I put my Photoshop skills to good use.

I first designed a basic page using a bunch of Napoleonic paintings and images that I lifted from the internet. I then converted all the charts and other relevant info from the book into digital charts and saved them as PDF's. From there I transferred them into Photoshop and did a bit of re-sizing and gamma adjustment stuff.

These are not perfect and I'm sure I'll find mistakes as we start to use them. There are also a bunch of things, like movement rates and formation changes that will come into dispute as we play games. As we discuss things and sort them out I'll make changes. I also invented some completely original things like the Random General Generator, the Weather chart and General Casualty thingy. These might stay or they may go. Who knows?

The idea is to print them onto a double sided A3 page, laminate it and then fold it. So then it will be a nice A4 sized folder with 99% of everything needed for a game of NCiM.

But for now here they are. these are smaller than the proper print sized copies but they're larger and clearer than the ones I originally posted on the Bruce Quarrie Facebook page. If you want them drop me a line in the comments section and I'll send the originals one to you. Just remember, they ain't finalised yet!

Friday, 22 July 2016

My Prussian's make their debut

As the title says, my Prussians had their first outing on the table last night. Their numbers are small at the moment so a small fighting withdrawal scenario was devised: a Polish brigade advancing into contact with an advanced Prussian post. The Prussians, very much out numbered, are to delay the Poles and withdraw off the table to their main force.

We used some of the other aspects of Napoleons Campaigns in Miniature (NCiM) in this game. One of these being the observation and hidden units rules. This meant that initially no Prussians were deployed and would need to be located. To do this I sketched out a rough map, noted the location of my troops and wrote out very general orders.

Prussian forces were, 1 Line regiment, a Jager detachment and a single squadron of Uhlans (this is all I have at the this time). The Poles (Played by the wily, Mike Goldyn) consisted of a full Infantry brigade with a battery of 6lb's. The Poles started on two entrance points (roads), 1 move in from the table edge, so not all of them started on the table.

The First Prussian pickets were sighted - Skirmishers on the hill and jagers in the wood.

These forced the Poles to shake out into line and send their own skirmishers forward. The Prussians on the hill retreated back to their parent unit which was located behind the hedge of a wheat field. The jagers opened fire using the longer range of their rifles (300mm). This was a mistake because they were firing at their maximum range and the +2 fire factor for First Fire was wasted against a -9 range factor and - 4 factor for firing at skirmishers.

The fusilier in the wheat field reformed and took some fire from the Polish skirmishers but withheld their own fire to retain their +2 First Fire bonus (the lesson learned from the jagers).

The fusiliers stood steadfast in the face of the Polish musketry & only lost one casualty as a result of determined effort by the skirmishers. The soft cover of the hedge helping out in this case.

The jagers shot it out with the skirmishers to their front where they inflicted casualties and drove the Poles back behind the safety of their line.

The Polish forces having taken the high point of the little hill could now see the remaining Prussian troops deployed further back - One battalion of musketeers in the other wheat filed behind a stone wall and another battalion in reserve on the road.

The Jagers were driven back by volleys from the Polish line and retired through the woods in good order with two companies of Polish voltigeurs on their heels. The Pole now brought up their canon threatening the forward Prussian fusilier companies who retired on to the rest of their battalion at the other of the end of the wheat field.

The jagers regrouped and joined the musketeer battalion in the second wheat field exchanging shots with the Polish voltigeurs emerging from the woods. Over the other side of the road The Poles advanced on the heels of the fusiliers and prepared for an assault. The gunners on the hill took aim at the fusiliers to little effect.

Also... Previously unmentioned, a squadron of Prussian Uhlans were sighted at the extreme left of the Polish position. They were initially ordered to observe and retire but their orders were changed to engage the Polish line and then retire. They made a futile charge which was stopped by the massed musket volleys from the Poles and they routed. They were too close and the musket range was too short. The result of being way too slow to deploy into line. 

P.S. I didn't manage to finish painting the uhlans due to a power outage (brush in hand) the night before.

The Poles now advanced on the Prussian positions. Some skirmish fire was made against the Prussian musketeers who replied with company volley fire and inflicted some casualties. the Polish guns changed their aim to target the musketeers in reserve on the road and inflicted some injury on them. In wheat field #1 the Poles, under ineffective fire from the fusiliers shaped up for the assault...

The Prussian's fired to little effect. The Polish columns were unformed due to their advance through the wheat and struck with a reduced impact. But the assault, although wasn't decisive, had the desired affect of forcing the fusiliers back. The results of the following morale tests had the Prussians steady and the Poles following up for a second round.

Here the game was called of due to the late hour.

Lessons Learned:

Overall it was a very enjoyable game with some good lessons learned. We're still coming to grips with the rules but doing this scenario resulted in some interesting situations and brought to light some topics for later discussion.

I think that my major gripe would be the constant referral to charts. We've discussed the need for a Quick Reference Sheet and after last night I think this is a must. We had printouts of charts all over the table as well and needing to constantly searching through the book for various things. So I'll get to work on this.

I'm not really keen on all of the National Characteristics. I don't mind the Morale, Shooting, Melee Factor stuff but the individual Movement Rates and Formation Change stuff leave me cold. For a Prussian cavalry squadron to take 1½ moves to shake out into line from column is a bit ridiculous. I know I could have just deployed them into line (they were a little unit after all) but I wanted to go through the process to see the outcome.

Overall, I like the flexibility of the rules. Unlike other rules sets for Napoleonic's NCiM allows a very detailed level of play if you want - Such as my initial deployment of my fusilier battalion into company elements and their later reforming into the full battalion. This isn't something that you would normally do in a larger battle but in a smaller engagement like this NCiM allows for this type of action where other rules don't. And, after recently reading about similar scenarios that actually occurred in the lead up to Ligny, these smaller encounters were widespread throughout the period.