Friday, April 09, 2021

Water Margin - Sung Cavalry

Another unit of our friends in Orange.

They look better flocked and based than they did up close on the paint table, I suspect lacking historical accuracy they fit the style of the TV show.

Great castings from the chaps at 1st Corps their Ancient Chinese range has a certain charm and fits well with the Scotia Grendel's Tale of the Dragon Kings range.

Can plush uniforms stand up to the men freemen of Laing Shan Po?

Next up more heroes of the Water Margin.

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Kings of Bronze #1 - Hittite Hasty Attack

After the first play test of solo rules a few weeks ago time to give the campaign it's first proper test and Huharmati's advance south.

Having secured the high ground Huharmati looked out across the plains towards the small town of Al Shebbeh a wadi screened the town with a crossing marking the main route into town, this would need to be seized if Al Shebbeh and it's riches would fall to the Hittites.

Will the Gods be with Hurarmati.

The coloured spots represent the potential Egyptian opponents, A B or C each class containing a differing spread of troops, I deployed these blinds based at likely points of defence, but with no idea what would appear on the table.

The dice gods were against Hurarmati and each roll on the blinds revealed a unit of Egyptians lining the wadi, Al Shebbeh would be a tough nut to crack. In the centre a group of close attack troops and a unit of spearmen.

I sent the Hittite heavy chariots on the left flank skirting the wadi to bypass the bulk of the defenders. Here the defenders were a little thinner with two of the blinds blank and the others only groups of infantry.

In the centre the advance of the Hittite Spearmen drew the Egyptian close attack troops from the wadi as they rushed towards the block of spearmen (12 on 2D6), the Hittite archers loosed their arrows as the attackers entered the open ground.

The Egyptians closed but the weight of Hittite spearmen and their supports drove them backwards back across the wadi.

With the close attack troops shattered the Hittite infantry were able to seize northern side of the wadi pinning the defenders in the village.

The Egyptian chariots were pinned in the centre of the village unwilling to advance across the rough terrain to close with the ranks of shield bearing spearmen.

Meanwhile on the right flank the Heavy Hittite chariots crashed headlong into the defenders, heavy spears disrupting the ranks before they could get organsised.

The flank was being turned and lighter armoured Egyptian chariot no match for the heavier Hittite war wagon. After one round of combat the Egyptians are forced to flee.

The Egyptian morale is starting to crumble, pinned in the village and under pressure on the outskirts of town their force morale drops to zero ending the game.

Nice to get all the toys on the table at least, the AI mechanism works reasonably well, although a couple of tweaks are needed on these with excess shock and perhaps some variance for those Bigman 3 leaders perhaps they could advance or lower their dice roll by one level above their status, e.g. Big man L2 can adapt the change by +/- 1.

Great to get Two Sheds Fred wadi and scrubland on the table, a great addition to the desert terrain and only with multiple users over a number of periods so glad I made the investment.
You can see more of Fred's terrain here...

What next for Huharmati?
Let's see what the fate dice hold.....

Monday, March 29, 2021

Provincial militia - Water Margin

Having spent the several evenings watching the last few episodes of the 70's Water Margin (again.) it struck me that somewhere during the filming the uniforms of the Army switched from Yellow in the early episodes to Orange.... 

With a number of bare metal units still languishing in the draw It gave me an excuse to get some paint on them and clear some of the last of the Water Margin project. Nice sculpts from the guys at 1st Corp.

I doubt very much that there is any historical basis to the uniforms but they compliment the existing forces really well, I am calling these provincial militia, although the white piping makes them look like flying goggles.

Not a bad match.....

If you thought these looked a little gaudy, wait until you see the mounted units.

Let's hope the lifting of the lockdown in the coming weeks goes to plan as the lack of physical gaming is I am sure sending me slightly mad.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Solo Wargaming Mechanisms - Part 2 - Kings of Bronze - Ancient Campaign.

Part 1 covered the placement of troops within the scenario, this section covers the gaming mechanics of units on the table, Covid19 has forced us all to think about solo gaming and there are a range of mechanics out there. But in my view none as good as Peter Gilders excellent Sands of the Sudan rules, they just needed a tweak and mixed with the Too Fat Lardies Infamy Infamy and Sharp Practice rules.

The original rules focused on British in the Sudan so the table below focuses on the Egyptians facing off against the Hittites.

The table below details the various units on the table when their chit comes out of the bag.

After rolling 2D6 the following actions are applied.

Huharmati with his state sponsored war band has been tasked with securing the high dunes over looking to route south. Having broken through the Egyptian lines, the Egyptian defenders come on in via various 1D6 entry points tasked with defending the objective.

The NYE come on in penny packets with a range of A,B & C's depending on the number of Infantry, light troops and Chariots in the force. Poor dice throwing meant that many of the forces were skirmishers or chariot runners or simply blanks. 
Surprisingly there was a total of 10 groups vs the Hittite's 9 and a high proportion of light troops, useful when they are meant to represent troops rushing to the scene to plug the gap, but not great at blunting an attack by formed troops.

Huharmati had a good run on the cards and managed to bring on his entire force before the tempus fugit card was drawn.

Huharmati riding in his heavy chariot lead his troops in a head long charge towards the high ground, the Egyptian forces were thinly spread and this was his chance.

The Egyptian commander entered the table and looked on from the far side of the table unable to move forward to aid of his forces near the dune. A 'C' on the reaction chart.

An Egyptian light chariot entered the fray driving back the Hittite chariot runners but was countered by the Hittite heavy chariots, with the Hittites throwing their heavy spears and the Egyptian loosing their arrows before closing to hand to hand. The light chariot was no match in combat, but got in a lucky blow wounding Huharmati,  they turned and fled but had worried the Hittites. 

The mass ranks of Hittite archers fire over the heads of the advancing chariots darkening the skies and peppering the Egyptian chariot runners who fell back. Meanwhile the Nubian's flanked the Hittites but were too few in number to cause them any concern. 

So far reaction mechanic's were holding up, units were charging forwards when out numbering their opposite number and taking a defensive stance, when no opponents could be seen or out numbered.
The rest of the Egyptian forces had been revealed but their random deployment meant that many were on the flanks and unable to cover the objective in the centre of the table.

Things were coming to a head in the centre of the table despite being wounded Huharmati seizes the objective as the Egyptian light forces are forced back.

The massed ranks of Hittite Infantry make slow progress across the table, the Egyptian Skirmish screen is unable to retake the dune, it was only held by the chariots at the moment. The Egyptian Infantry needed a break.

The break never came. The Hittite spearmen crested the dune, there was no coming back for the defenders and with only minimal casualties it was looking like a decisive first victory for the Hittite forces.

The last of the Egyptian defenders are driven backwards, the dune was secure. Time to call it a day.

At the end of each battle, I need to test for those taken out of the fight. The Hittite had 4 casualties.

At the end of the game some of these men will be able to return to battle immediately, others may need rest to recover. Using the mechanism with Dawn and Departures. The Hittites compared their Force Morale with that of the Egyptian force, a difference of 2, this will give them two kills back.

The following dice ae need to be rolled for all battlefield kills - Flesh wound fight on. 5,6 - Rest up. 3,4 - Dead 1,2.

The Hittites suffered 2 Dead and 2 serious wounded - The force morale gave them 2 dead back so Huharmati was two men down for the next encounter as they recovered from their wounds. Huharmati prayed to the gods that he had been spared serious injury and readied his troops for the next encounter.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Solo Wargaming Mechanisms - Part 1 - Kings of Bronze - Ancient Campaign.

Back in March during lock down 1.0 I kicked off a WW2 campaign using Bolt Action and Platoon Forward, the excellent campaign management rules by Joe Legan.

Dust, Tears & Dice: Bolt Action Solo Play - Platoon Forward!

With the absence of face to face gaming, a new gaming space and Ancient Hittite and New Kingdom Egyptian Forces as yet untested time to put some plans together to get some solo gaming in. I am ashamed to say I can't be trusted to be fair to both sides so I needed to create a mechanism to generate encounters, terrain and battlefield reactions for the AI defenders within Infamy Infamy.

Joe's rules offer a range of scenario's tailored to modern gaming, but the principles work for any period, a scouting raid, exploiting a gap in the enemies defences or full blown battle.

Each scenario calls for the terrain to be set up in 9 blocks, some time ago I adapted the Too Fat Lardies - Dawn and Departures terrain rules for use in the desert, so followed a similar idea here.

In this case a small farm in the southern reaches of the empire heading south towards the lands of the Pharaoh, the table is sparse with a few patches of scrub and a high dune (which is to be the objective in this scenario).

I rolled the scenario which was 'Exploitation' - The Hittite commander has been ordered forward to exploit a recent skirmish, the Hittite forces are now several miles into Egyptian territory with orders to reach the high ground over looking the main track south.

The orders are clear now to decide on the forces are available.

Overseer Huharmati distant cousin to the King was called up to join the greatest military campaign ever seen in Hittite history, a campaign to free the kingdoms held under Egyptian control and the promise of untold wealth. The Hittite army was made up of numerous allies and contingents drawn from the far flung corners of the empire. The challenge for Huharmati was to rise above the other leaders.

Huharmati selects the following forces, which gives a balance of spearmen, archers and chariot runners to support his pride and joy the heavy chariots designed to punch through the enemy ranks.

9 Groups in total, split into Infantry, Chariots & light troops.
This core force is bolstered by the potential for additional support for the mission which is breakdown into a number of areas.

Skirmishers/Chariot Runners
Close Assault - Elite Infantry
Archers - Spearmen
Big Man I
Big Man II
Big Man III

All of which have a probability ranging from Very Likely to Very unlikely.

Overseer Huharmati gained a BIg Man I, a further chariot and supporting runners.

Depending on your choices dictates the number of blinds you face on the table. These are split into three different classes A-C. Each scenario requires you to place them differently, perhaps on the most logical location or entering the table on specific locations.

I adapted these for Ancient play.

On to battle.
Huharmati  is tasked with seizing the high group on the far side of the table, he faces 12 blinds - 6 A's, 4 B's and 3 C's the Egyptians enter the table in penny packets on the table edge as they rush back to secure the high ground and close the gap through which the Hittites poured.

Overseer Huharmati and his forces must secure the high ground, to do so with minimal casualties will be a decisive victory.

Next up have added in the AI for unit and terrain generation, how are reactions of units handled on the table top.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

15mm Boxer Rebellion Collection - For Sale.

Yes it's a blatant sales pitch!!

The new games room has given me the opportunity to review the various collections still tucked away in boxes. With a (semi) permanent 8 x 4 expanse means that space is at a premium especially when the ancients need a proper home and that coupled with the principle that every collection and it's terrain must be able to support multiple periods and theatres these don't really fit the bigger plan. 

So these go up on e-bay tonight, hopefully they will find a good home for someone who can have as much fun with them as I have over the years...

Pic's captured for prosperity and to remind me not to start them again in about 3 years when something shiny comes along or a new set of rules re-sparks my interest.

You can find the listings here if anyone is interested.

Thanks for stopping by.

Defenders of the Legations.

The Allied Relief Column.

The Chinese Imperial Army.

The Boxers all 104 of them...