Friday, March 6, 2015

Natholeon's Blog Give-Away

Nate over at Natholeon's Empire is holding a milestone blog give-away.
To celebrate his 100th Follower, Nate is offering a trio of prizes to entice current Followers and Followers to be.
I have enjoyed Nate's Crimean War Battle Reports and following his burgeoning Great War project in 15mm.

Drop by and give Nate's blog a read.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Battle of Raymond - BatRep


Scott M. hosted a Regimental Fire and Fury game on Saturday. Before the game, each potential participant received the following briefing:

Tomorrow we fight part of the Vicksburg campaign. I’ll be setting up the Battle of Raymond, the best chance Pemberton had to defeat Grant before Grant got between Vicksburg and Jackson. If the Confederates win, they will have a good chance to unite Pemberton’s and Johnston’s armies.

Three Union brigades will have to push one reinforced Confederate brigade back from the crucial road junction at Raymond. Confederate reinforcements are on the way, so the Union had better move quickly!

Since Kevin would not be arriving until later, Scott gave the Confederate command to me with Don and Scott R. taking command of the Federal forces.  The creek is lined with woods so fighting will be necessarily at close range.  Confederate forces set up hidden.    Each Confederate regiment is given one token and one dummy token for placement.  The objective for both sides to control the vital crossroads. 
Initial dispositions with Rebs deployed to 
protect possible Federal lines of advance.
As umpire, Scott introduced a deck of cards containing one Lull and one Impetuous Rebel Charge card plus cards for each formation.  Each time the Lull card was played, all enemy formations had to pull back out of musketry range of enemy.  Additionally, all Low Ammo and Disorder markers are removed.

Each time the Impetuous Rebel Charge was turned, any Rebel regiment within 12 inches of an enemy force must charge.  The Rebels are out of control in this game, for sure.  Not only will no plan survive contact with the enemy but no plan may survive close proximity!  I will call this packet of cards, the Calamity Deck.
Rebel cavalry (Blue Moon) protecting the southern flank.
Federals stream onto table from their entry points.
Federal cavalry probe near the bridge.
Reb cavalry dismount and protect the main bridge.
Long columns of Union blue converge on the bridge.
My God, Sir, we are quite outnumbered!
Cavalry skirmish across the creek.
Federals deploy in the salient formed by the creek bend.
Not considering the ramifications of the Impetuous Rebel Charge card in the Calamity Deck, the Confederate forces deployed forward to cover the main bridge into Raymond.  The lone Confederate gun section was placed on a knoll with LOS to the main bridge.  Throughout the early stages of the battle those two Rebel guns would disorder many a Federal formation.
With Federals massing, Rebels begin committing and
deploying reserves.
It did not take long for the Rebel Charge card to show its ugly head.  Against better judgment and careful positioning, the Rebs were compelled to strike out from behind the relative safety of the creek.  Who is leading those foolhardy warriors?  From the frying pan and into the fire!
41st TENN splashes across creek to attack Federal
cavalry skirmish screen in foreground while Rebs
attack across stream in background.
Impetuous attack!
Both impetuous Reb attacks repulsed!
Federals counterattack pushing 41 TENN back across
stream while Federals line the stream bank.
High water mark for the Federals.
With the success of repelling the first, ill-advised Confederate attacks, Federal troops deploy along the creek bank.  Heavily outnumbered, the Confederates may be hard pressed to hang onto their positions.  But wait!  Panic on the Federal right!  Federal troops panic and crash through their own lines as they skedaddle back from the creek.  Most formations are either disordered as the fleeing troops pass through or broken.  Fortunate break for the Rebs!  
Disaster strikes Union right!
Failed Maneuver Orders cause panic as most of one
brigade routs, broken.
Federals quickly regain their composure and launch counterattacks on the right.  Even with overwhelming numbers, the Federals are beaten back.
Union right regroups and attacks.
Federal counterattack repulsed!
Flush with success of repulsing the Federals on the Confederate left, Confederate troops spring into another Impetuous Rebel Charge.  Good grief!  These are bold Rebels!
Impetuous Rebs attack (again).
Heated fight for control of bridge on Reb right.
Daring Reb assaults on the Confederate left.
Attacks on both the right and left succeed and all three Union generals go down in the fight.  That is correct.  Three Union generals dead on the field and three gun sections either destroyed or captured.
Federal right pushed back with finger pointing
 while Rebel right breaks through!
Seeing the Confederates firmly in control and the wild Texans bearing down on the remnants of their formations, the Federal forces disengage.  The anticipated Confederate reinforcements never materialized.
With Confederates controlling approaches to Raymond
 and all Union generals dead on the field,
 Federal forces disengage.
Confederate major victory!

The game was fought to conclusion in about four hours including a break for lunch.  The Lull and Impetuous Rebel Charge cards added a lot of friction into the game and provided good drama.  Once bottle up in the bend of the creek, the Federals really had no space to full to bring their full might to bear.

Great fun and enjoyable afternoon spent with the guys battling across the table.  Raymond was an interesting battle and posed tactical problems and friction for all participants.  This one has good replay value although I am not sure how the Rebels could have fared much better.

Monday, March 2, 2015

British 3rd Dragoon Guards

The painting binge in 28mm Napoleonics spills over into March.  Marked by the mustering out of the British 3rd Guard Dragoon regiment, Squadrons 1 and 2, a bite in the The Lead Pile with respect to 28mm Napoleonics is becoming noticeable.  If I have not tired of painting Napoleonics, why stop?

Painting Front Rank cavalry is a treat.  For me, the horses paint quickly and the raised surfaces on the robust troopers are easy to move the brush over.

Soon to join their comrades will be an eighteen figure regiment of the Coldstream Guards.  The Coldstream Guards are also Front Rank but the regiment is composed of the more recent Reinforcement Packs.  The British in the Reinforcement Packs are absolutely strikingly sculpted and will look smashing on the table top.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Basic Impetvs v1.5

Recently, an update (unofficial?) has been posted on the Impetvs Forum for Basic Impetvs.  While a number of useful changes have been posited, the change of most interest to me is the inclusion of Evasion.  Finally, the topic that our group has debated with every playing has been addressed.  Until now, Evasion has been elusive in Basic Impetvs with many choosing to include their own house rules.  Our group was no exception.

The basics of the Evasion rules are as follows:
  • CL or S units may evade if charged frontally.
  • Not allowed as a reaction to a pursuit move following following melee.
  • Free activation with a full move to rear with no direction change.
  • Move not allowed if path carries the unit over Impassable Terrain or enemy/friendly units locked in melee.
  • Considered an Involuntary Move for Interpenetration
There it is.  Straightforward and easy to implement.  This codifies Evade pretty much the way we gamed. 

Some other noteworthy amendments:
Clarifications for Interpenetration that bifurcates this rule into two classifications: Voluntary and Involuntary.  Makes sense and does clarify some ambiguities from the earlier version.

Charging: If a target evades during a charge, the Charge Move is considered a Normal Move if no contact is made.  No more disordering the charger if the enemy evades.

Movement: Introduces a second movement phase in which a unit moving a second time must pass a Discipline Test.  Failing the test disorders the unit.

Firing Dice Modifiers:  Modifier amendments,
  • (-1) die for each phase moved with the exception that S/FL with javelin may move in one phase only and fire with no penalty.
  • (-2) Firing at S/CL/ART at long range
  • (-1) Firing at S/CL at short range.
  • (+2) Dice for artillery fire against large units or groups in column.  That will hurt pike blocks.  
Skirmishers now will be a little easier to hit at short range.  That will help against annoying enemy skirmish screens.

Cohesion Test: Added to the list of DRMs for Cohesion Tests are:
(+1) if FP except if fired on by artillery
(+1) if fired on at short range
(+2) if fired on at long range

I like these changes.  Now, missile fire does not have the same Cohesion shock as does melee and heavy infantry can hold up a little longer unless targeted by artillery.

Large Unit Depth Bonus: Some CP can now form large units.  Number of additional dice have been modified.  Large units in difficult ground lose depth bonus.  Large units attacked in flank or rear maintain a depth bonus but if the Cohesion Test fails, the unit is routed.  Ouch!

Impetus Bonus: Light cavalry (CL) with an I=0 can charge skirmishers (S), disordered units, or units in flank/rear.  CL may also pursue these same classifications.  No Impetus Bonus for:
  • Troops that are not Fresh, except for Scythed Chariots.
  • Infantry charging Mounted troops.
  • Mounted charging Infantry with Pike or Long Spears, Wagenburg, Elephants.
  • Elephants that charge Skirmishers or non-impetuous Light Infantry.
  • Scythed Chariots that charge non-impetuous Light Infantry.
  • Infantry, except for impetuous Light Infantry, that charge in difficult ground.
  • Mounted that are charging in broken or difficult ground.
  • Infantry that are charging troops that are defending fortifications.
  • Mounted that are charging troops defended by stakes or pavises.
  • Troops charging an occupied Built-Up Area.
Most of the changes align with the new Advanced Impetvs rules.  To see the amendments in their entirety, see:
Basic Impetvs v1.5 Rules

Looking forward to giving these a test in the next game.

One final note about the previous Punic War battle documented in an earlier posting.  That battle, in part, hinged on the breaking of the Roman division on the right.  I ruled that once a division reached the VD break point, all units of the division would disengage and begin a withdrawal to the table edge.

I noticed, however, that the Basic Impetvs website has a heading for Multi Basic Impetvs.  Under Victory Conditions,

4) VICTORY CONDITIONS. Same rules as for Basic set are applied, anyway when a Division looses the 50% of its VD, at the start of its activation all its Units are permanently Disordered (no rally for them).

I should have ruled that a division reaching its break point would disorder all units permanently. That may have prolonged the game but permanently disordered units would begin shedding VBU with every hit.



Thursday, February 26, 2015

Palazzo Vecchio in Florence

After participating in Jake's Impetvs game set during the Great Italian Wars coupled with the jump-started launch of my own Great Italian Wars project and the arrival of a small stack of Italian Wars books, thoughts returned to my visit to Florence.  Florence.  When I think of the Renaissance, Florence is the city that immediately comes to mind.

On our first night in Florence, we dined in an open air restaurant on the Piazza del Signoria facing Palazzo Vecchio with this view.  Cool view, eh?
Palazzo Vecchio
During our stay in Florence, the B&B in which we stayed was less than a five minute walk to The Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
From the Cathedral, it was only a short walk to the Palazzo Vecchio or old Palace near the banks of the Arno River.  For Renaissance battle frescoes, the palace is worthy of a stop.
Palazzo Vecchio
Lorenzo the Magnificent keeping a watchful eye.  Who would not like the moniker "The Magnificent?"
Lorenzo the Magnificent
Through the main gate and across the inner courtyard, the palace opens up into the great room, or Hall of 500.  While entry into the Great Hall is on the ground floor, I climbed upstairs to gain a better vantage point.  At one time, this was the largest public meeting room in Italy. 
Hall of 500
The size of the frescoes is immense.  These battle scenes were created by Giorgio Vasari in the 1560's.  Both Michelangelo and Da Vinci were originally commissioned to paint the frescoes but Michelangelo really never made much progress and Da Vinci's work was damaged by using heat to decrease the drying time.  Unfortunately, the heat from the hot coals melted the wax in the frescoes.  Speculation is that Leonardo's work is still behind one of Vasari's frescoes. 

The Hall of 500's east and west walls display three battle frescoes on each depicting Florentine military victories over Siena and Pisa.  On the west wall, are three frescoes,
Defeat of Pisans at Tower of San Vincenzo, 1505
Siege of Livorno Lifted, 1496 (center panel)
Battle of Stampace, 1499
and on the east wall, three frescoes,
Victory of Cosimo I at Battle of Marciano, 1554
The Conquest of Porto Ercole, 1555 (center panel)
Taking of Siena, 1554
Lining the walls of the hall are sculptures showing the Labors of Hercules by Rossi.






and Michelangelo's statue of Victory.
A brief tour of one room, in one palace in one Florence.  

No visit to the Piazza del Signoria would be complete without a photo of Perseus holding the head of Medusa.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

State of the Game Room

Sometimes, the game room reaches a state of chaos.  Today is one such time.  Rather than a surface for gaming, the table, at present, is in a state of disarray and has become more of a staging area for various projects.  Multiple projects are strewn about with seemingly little order.

In the far back left of the photo is my painting desk tucked away in the corner not taking up much space.  Under the table and on shelves on the outer edge of the room are stacks of boxes containing the painted collections.

Before thoughts of another "home" game are entertained, I must get this space back under control.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

BTD Christmas Sale Order FINALLY ARRIVES

Finally!  After a wait of nearly three months, the BTD USA Christmas Sale order placed on DEC 01, showed up in my mailbox on FEB 20.  Included along with my original order were a few extra packs of figures as compensation for the delay and a handwritten note of apology.  I even got to select which extra packs to include!  Also included was a side board for a Celtic chariot missing from an earlier order.

Why the long delay?  Well, during these 50% discount sales, figures sell out and orders to recast go out.  When the back order arrived into BTD USA HQ, my items were missing.  Perhaps, Trojan War figures had huge demand during the sale?  They are excellent figures.  That shortfall prompted another call for resupply from the casters and after a two and a half month lead time, my package arrived.

All along the waiting process, the proprietor kept me informed of the order status and offered to throw in a few extra packs as compensation.  Do I mind a delay of this magnitude?  Not really.  These figures are for a project meant for future activity so no pressing need.

In the photo, notice the new packaging with the nice red cardboard labels.  In all past orders, figures arrived in large ziplock bags with their contents written on the bag in permanent, black marker.  This is a step up, for sure.  As an additional surprise, the spearmen came with brass rod spears such as Northstar makes.  Fantastic!  In the past, figures have always come with a roll of malleable wire.  Some packs still contain those wire coils.

BTD USA offers great figures that are frequently on sale and offer great value for the dollar.  Long delays?  Sometimes, but for those planning far enough ahead, no worries.

What is the longest wait acceptable for an order?  Is three months beyond the threshold?
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