Friday, 14 January 2022

6mm Austrian reinforcements (1809)

After a lengthy Hapsburg hiatus (last mentioned in 2020), I have started the year with a few 6mm Napoleonic Austrian reinforcements and a renewed enthusiasm to actually push them about in simulated anger. I've a few new units I wish to add to the army - bringing it up to a 300 point force if we end up playing Bataille Empire, or a respectable five divisions should we go down the Black Powder 2 route.

First up, serendipitously, are the 1st (Kaiser Franz) Hussars. With their dark blue uniforms and black shakos, they could easily do double duty as the 11th (Szekler) Hussars from Transylvania.

The next regiment is the 4th (Vincent) Chevauleger. This unit is actually composed of left-over cuirassiers supplemented by some spare mounted generals with greenstuff helmets to make them blend in. Given the hotchpotch make up of the unit, I think they have come together very cleverly. I went with the 4th regiment to ensure I got the green coats - not all chevauleger wear green - and I thought the blue facings more interesting than the more common red worn by most regiments.

I also invested in a few generic 6mm buildings. They are perhaps not Central European enough to be strictly accurate for my Austrians to fight-over, but they need to be able to do double duty as settlements in Fantastic Battles (and other games) as well, so I opted for relatively timeless early modern pieces that might also be fantastic... Austrian generals for scale.

Saturday, 8 January 2022

Fantastic Battles - siege testing

For the first game of the year, Jim and I got together to play around with the draft siege rules for for Fantastic Battles. I took 480 points worth of beastlings, defending a small stockade. Jim led 1000 points of Byzernian besiegers.

There were a number of things that worked well, and a few things that didn't. Serendipitously my army was composed entirely of shooting units, so once the assault started - pretty early, Jim wasn't for sitting and building siege engines - the balance of power was with the defenders. 

However, once the Byzernian axe men were at the palisade and various fantastic elements started to impact on the game (magic and flying principally), the Byzernian numbers and superior martial skills turned the tide.

The palisade was breached in two places, the Byzernian archangel flew over the walls, and their heavy cavalry were probably quite as surprised as I was to find themselves blinked within the walls. At this point, the accumulated resolve loss was too much for my wee beasties and their army collapsed.

Takeaways from the playtest:
  • This is probably as small a siege as you'd want to play. Both in terms of the size of the defences and the size of the armies. In this format, there were not a lot of strategic options open to me as the defender once the assault was under way.
  • As the defender, the defences need to provide more defence! 
  • On a related note, palisades are probably too susceptible to enemy melee attacks meaning there is less onus on the attacker to build siege machinery.
  • There is an ambiguity currently around defenders on top of defences when there are enemies outside at the foot and whether that locks them in melee. There seemed to be pretty clear-cut answers, until the attacker was a giant archangel...

Friday, 31 December 2021

Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier's retinue - redux

Finishing off the posts for 2021, I have returned to revise and expand on my c.1200 (+/- 75 years) retinue of the apocryphal knight, Sir Guillaume le Fauconnier. These hardened 28mm warriors (kitbashed mostly from Fireforge sprues) have not seen a lot of service since first painting them up in 2019. However, in the new year they will form the basis of a small 500 point retinue I plan to build to try out Adny Hobday's Barons' War rules. 

Sir Guillaume and his veteran sergeants. 

The start of a group of sergeants with crossbows.

The first two archers.

Two wolfhounds from the Wargames Atlantic Irish warriors box.

Thursday, 30 December 2021

The raid on Port Onslow - swashbuckling with 'This is Not a Test'

This week Andrew and I got our pirate-types on the table for the first time. Between us we have a raft of suitable rules focusing on pirates and swashbucklers, but we decided to use the post-apocalyptic rule set, This is Not a Test, instead. Despite first (post-apocalyptic) appearances, the rules are pretty flawless for pirate themed skirmishes for crews of a dozen or so characters. 

Both crews were built around the Caravaners warband roster, but given the flexibility of the rules, they had completely different flavours. We restricted weapons to melee weapons and 'primitive' missile weapons which includes the likes of black powder pistols, muskets and blunderbusses. The only house rule we implemented was to have guns 'jam' after every shot, regardless of die roll, to represent the load time. Despite the impediment this caused, the strength of the musket shots made them still lethal on the table.

The crew of the cutter Charlotte, commanded by Capt. Sammuel Blood, docked at Port Onslow. Across the port were five chests with scraps of treasure map were hidden inside. The raid ended when all scraps were found, or after eight turns.

Most of Port Onslow's people had fled into the countryside, but the local militia pulled together by their vicar gathered on the edge of town to repulse the pirate raid.

Jim Lad, the pirate cabin boy used all his skills as a runner to get straight up to the first chest in turn one, followed and watched over by one of Blood's lieutenants, Gideon Brown. 

The rest of the crew started up the main street, and were soon joined by Gideon and Jim Lad (holding a loft the first map scrap). 

As the village militia made its way into the main street, gun shots rang out and the first casualties were caused on both sides. Jim Lad used the distraction caused by the firefight to search another chest on the far side of the street, securing the second piece of map for the pirates. The militia recovered a scrap of map from the chest by the church. In the graveyard beyond the church the militia's tribal scout struggled to find a forth map scrap from a chest recovered from one of the graves.

The native scout finally managed to secure the graveyard map piece, but by then it was all a bit late. A bloody scuffle broke out around the fifth chest which ended poorly for the militia. Capt. Blood himself secured the last map scrap and sounded the retreat. 

Blood's buccaneers were successful in their raid, carrying away three of the five map pieces. Both forces suffered four casualties, one of whom died on each side. The wounded militiamen came away better off, however, while three of the pirates would carry serious injuries forwards. 

Not every part of the post-game sequence transferred flawlessly to an 18th century setting. My crew discovered a source of H20 - that's easy enough to view as a source of fresh water - while Andrew's militia found a sniper rifle. We rationalised that back to a fowling piece (using the standard rifle profile, but still jamming every shot), but it did demonstrate that not everything would work without giving some thought. Never-the-less, the game rules themselves were perfect and made for an extremely fun game. We fully intend to take the game forward into something of a narrative campaign - the next step of which will be a hunt for treasure inspired by our map pieces.