10 November 2019

MOAB Part 2

Usually, MOAB for me is a social and shopping experience with the odd game thrown in.  The last few years have changed that and this year Comrade James made the trek from Canberra for the whole weekend and stayed at mine.  That means lots of time for after hours games and beers also - excellent!

It was great to catch up with Millsy of Canister and Shot fame (http://canisterandgrape.blogspot.com/) albeit briefly, as well as Chris from the Maruya Marauders blog (from http://moruya-marauders.blogspot.com/)

Comrade James deep in concentration playing a demo of Song of Ice and Fire
After hours gaming included Blood Red Skies: 

A rare North Korean (or Russian?) victory over a USAF jet

What real man isnt stirred by the sight of a few vics of Spitfires?

A dogfight pitting Spits vs Zeros
Some introductory games of Kill Team, which has since become the Lad's game of choice (and thus my painting priority...)  The 3 player game was particularly chaotic and amusing!

The perils of true line of sight!

Chaos clash!
Beers, buddies and a brace of dice
 And rediscovering an old favourite - I got my first boxed set back in the early 80s

And of course purchases were made - enough said!
The loot pile of future shame

05 November 2019

MOAB Part 1 - The Petite Race for Africa

Last month the Lad and I (and a few club lads) attended the local annual games convention, Mother of All Battles (MOAB).  It's a long weekend event, which allows a bunch of socials and shopping, as well as time to play in some games.  Last year it was Gaslands - this year we played in a more  narrative African adventure game, again put on by Frank and Sven.  And a cracking job they did.

The game hosted 8 players, each playing different factions and each with specific primary and secondary objectives.  Some of these objectives were mutually exclusive, many were not. But all were secret and nobody knew what anybody else wanted - which made for some great interaction and, inevitably, double crossing!

The British, French, German and Belgian players had colonial style aims, the local tribes were trying to rescue their Princess from the vile Zanzibari slavers.  Another Slaver faction wanted to maintain the slave trade but also replace the Zanzibari as the cartel leaders, and the Ruga-Ruga were essentially mercenaries for hire.  Comrade James was Ze Jermens, Reilly was the Ruga-Ruga and I went with the universally hated Zanzibari.

What a cracking game - there was mystery, intrigue, politics and backstabbing: everything necessary for a fun afternoon gaming!  Sven and Frank kept everything flowing very well, giving everyone the latitude to play they wanted while also guiding the narrative.  A superb job and 4 hours flew by very quickly.
Ze magnificent German Riverboat flotilla
The bow gun on the riverboat
Blundering British explorers in the Jungle

The Ruga-Ruga push forward

The Belgians advance from their encampment
Le Francais Pas de Charge
Fierce local Tribesmen, determined to get their Princess Back

My peaceful Zanzibari relaxing in their Tembe - no bother to anyone and only interested in advancing commerce
Highlights included the Hunt for the Pink Zebra, Germany "accidentally" triggering a European War, Goats on the roof of the Tembe, rampaging Rhinos, and explosive baggage that Wile E. Coyote would have been proud of. What a hoot!
Trouble: British and Ruga-Ruga commander plotting and pointing at my Tembe!

More Trouble at both front and back doors to my Tembe!

Comrade James demonstrates his fine abilities at Naval Gunfire Support!

Ze Jermans advance from the River - the Tembe is getting very popular!

Is he laughing at my burning Tembe? I shall be revenged!
Sometimes, a slaver just has to know when the jig is up and beat a hasty retreat

Making my escape as the wolves close in from all directions
What pink Zebra?
Frank and Sven brought all the figures and scratch built all the terrain and tokens - a really great job and you can see some more at their great Adventures in Lead blog: http://adventuresinlead.blogspot.com/

Thanks again for a great game guys! Classic gaming and good times with my son, my mate, and new friends.
The post-game Ruga-Ruga commander declares his aims and objectives

02 November 2019

Napoleonic Peninsula War Campaign: Part 2

Our Napoleonic campaign continues directly after the morning's skirmish and subsequent French lank attack on the British column - see here for details:

The French Commander, now informed of the morning's engagements by dispatch couriers and his own scouts, roused his main body to advance upon the British force.  The 10 miles or so would be covered in sufficient time to anticipate contact with the enemy shortly after lunch.

From a campaign perspective, we really wanted this game to be about the main forces and seeing the clash of firing line vs attack column. Accordingly, I removed the light forces from the battle - the British riflemen providing flank and rear guard protection from the French who had attacked earlier and subsequently withdrawn to the west.

Noting the dispositions of the forces post the morning battle, I directed the starting positions of the adversaries, commencing approx 2-3 feet apart and with each side occupying key buildings with light forces at game start - again this was to aid the development of the main fight.
The tightly packed French attack column forms up for the assault on the British thin red line
Le pas de Charge!
The British formed up with an extended line of British Regulars with Spanish guerrillas on their flank.  The Light Dragoons, so handy in the morning's engagement, stood past the Spanish on the far right wing as a forward Reserve.

The French formed up with an assault column supported by a regular unit in line and a number of light troops deployed to annoy the British and prevent them from concentrating their fire on the column. Oh yes, they also had a nasty looking 9 pdr cannon in support!

With the field set, the French began their advance, accompanied by the opening salvoes of the cannon which were rather impressively effective. You could see the British Commander get a bit nervous about the prospect of a protracted bombardment.
Clever French geometery kept the gun in action while the infantry advance
in the centre, supported by French light forces on the flanks (not shown)

Rapidly advancing using the "pais de charge" special ability and with a skirmisher
screen in place, the French attack column was very menacing!
Meanwhile, the British line is starting to thin under cannonade and sustained musket fire from the supporting French units
And at this stage the French attack started to slow - a couple of officer casualties, coupled with a lack of command flags, saw the cannon unable to fire and an inability to push the attack column forwards (though it did absorb a staggering amount of British firepower in the meantime, without significant effect).  Nevertheless, other French elements were pushing up and the British line was under heavy pressure.
Things getting very ugly for the British centre - a French breakthrough is imminent!
On the British left, the other Line Company manoeuvred into a good position to pour fire into the flank of the French attack column. The game was now on a knife edge - each activation important and a few early tiffin cards titling tilting the balance each way in turn. It made each card draw very exciting (and thus I forgot to take a lot of pictures!)
French dragoons attack the British left to protect the attack column from Flanking fire.
While tactically sound, this charge was ultimately very costly for the French
The British were doing well on the flanks but about to cave in the centre - indeed, the centre Line formation was faltering and had started to withdraw with over 50% casualties.  But British successes on the flanks had the overall French Force morale dropping fast, and then...

...from out of nowhere young Lieutenant Overbight shows up with his Light Dragoons- they had loitered way out on the British right flank, unengaged and forgotten in the bigger action. With masterful timing they streaked across the field, taking the supporting French line infantry in the flank and destroyed it. French force morale faltered and despite the attack column remaining intact, the French General was obliged to call it a day and fall back.

A fantastic game that went down to the wire and could have gone either way at any time. One of the best games of Sharp's Practice we have had!  Part of the end of day campaign moderator's report to the British Commander was the following:

The sun has set on an action filled day. As your servants clear away the remnants of your roast beef and yorkshire pudding in your tent, you reflect upon the day. Sipping at a good claret, the moment is marred only by the groans and occasional scream from the hospital tent. You make a mental note to have the Chief of Staff ensure the surgeons relocate further out of earshot tomorrow, and then turn back to the situation map.

Today saw three engagements, commencing with your screening elements under Lieutenant Rotter being pushed back by an enemy light force superior in number. That enemy force, mostly comprised of Voltiguers with some mounted Dragoons in support, then attacked your right flank mid morning and attempted to sack your baggage train, but the rapid redeployment of your main body swept them aside. Notably, young Overbight’s Dragoons performed most gallantly – perhaps there is more to that young man than just Daddy’s deep pockets.

The real action started when the French appeared in the afternoon from the North, forming up into their trademark attack column which advanced with flanking elements and the support of a 9 pdr. The latter’s opening salvos were a portent to a difficult afternoon but soon fell silent as the French infantry closed.  A vigorous engagement followed, with volleys crashing out in both directions and the fields were spattered with blood. In the end though, it was young Overbight’s charge onto the enemy’s western flank that caused them to waver and then withdraw to the North. You make another mental note to file for a brevet Captaincy for Overbight – he has well earned it this day.

Campaign wise, the French have now chosen to retire and consolidate in a new position to start a new follow-on campaign narrative.

30 October 2019

The Massacre at Penshurst flats

Catching up on my blogging about some great games in the last month - this was an excellent club night skirmish battle, set in the Blackhawk war of 1832.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Hawk_War)
The wonderful table - a real treat to play on

Settlers hoping for some protection from the unruly natives
Club mate Mac was my opponent and supplier of all the lovely terrain bar a few trees from my collection. My Raiding Blackhawks were drawn from my collection of FIW native americans.  Rules were Rebels and Patriots - my second time using these rules. I find them very intuitive if you are familiar with the "Rampant" series.

The Militia enter the field of battle in column as the Sauk infiltrate through the woods

The Scenario was that Captain Walker’s company of the Illinois Militia were to advance and cross the area, covered by some friendly Dakota Indians. The mission was to protect the local settlers from the marauding savages.  The attacking Sauk Indians, 
led by Sachem “Skwa prefers his dogs”, were after the scalps of the white men stealing their lands.
My second war party used their good mobility in the woods to get the drop on the mounted advance party

The action heating up

The Sharpshooter  and rifles upgrades let my Sauks accurately fire from outside the Militia's range

The Locals take cover behind a barricade but the bloodthirsty Sauk were keen to blood their tomahawks
The Militia were ambushed by Sauk Indians, who I tried to keep mobile throughout to frustrate Mac's efforts to bring massed fire upon me.  In the end the Militia were wiped out, the Sauk Indians retreating only because they could carry no more scalps. Mac was a fantastic sport who rolled an unlikely number of 1s and 2s while my own Indians seemed to have magic bullets that never missed. Nevertheless it was a lovely looking game and I wanted to share the great eye candy.