Friday, December 9, 2022

D3 or not D3?

That is the question.

Peter, at Grid Based Wargaming asked if I was interested in participating in a remote game using his 40mm paper models and his D3 rules in a game.  Without hesitation, I jumped at the chance to see Peter's figures and rules in action.

While I have followed along in Peter's steady stream of battle reports from a variety of periods, I never really read the rules closely.  That is until he offered up a game.  Peter's D3 rules strike out from a starting point of Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames rules and expand from there.  Hits to eliminate a unit are reduced from fifteen to nine and rather than a D6 for hits, a D3 is utilized.  Each rolled pip is a hit on the opponent.  As Peter explained, one hit represents light casualties, two hits moderate casualties, and three hits heavy casualties.  

Who uses a D3?  Not me!  In fact, I had to use ersatz D6s for our game last week.  Some other modifications include attacker repulsed if a defender is not destroyed in a charge, an activation roll, and officer rally.  All cleverly incorporated into a base game.

How did my first game pan out?  Well, I took command of the attacking Jacobites while Peter commanded the Government forces.  I provided a battle order for the Jacobite Army to be used to set out the forces when the game began.  Did I mention this was Peter's first hosting of a remote game?  Should be fun.

A brief recap of the action follows.

Government in the foreground.
Jacobites in the background.
The rebels march forward as the gun opens fire.
Rebel cavalry swings around the left flank as musketry
 attempts to soften up the Government defenders.
Government forces await the assault.
After an exchange of fire all along the line,
 the Rebel cavalry charges in after seeing
Government infantry waver.
One Government infantry regiment is destroyed in the melee.
The Rebel cavalry pursues into the Government gun.
The gun is overrun!
Rebel horse is repulsed while Irish infantry
 move up from the second line onto the left flank.
Highlanders charge into the center of the Government line
but are both repulsed after causing
heavy casualties to the defenders.

Having been repulsed, Highlanders regroup
and charge back in.
This time the defenders melt away.
The Rebel left takes fire from enemy skirmishers
 but keep up with the advance.
On the Rebel right, the enemy counterattacks in an attempt
to destroy the Highlanders before they can charge in again. 
With the Highlanders battered but not broken,
 the enemy is forced to retire.
Clearing the enemy left, Highlanders move to turn a flank.
  To cover this maneuver, Highlanders charge back into the fray.
Hit from fore and flank,
another Government unit is destroyed.
Pursuit carries the victorious Highlanders into a wavering unit. 
The enemy buckles and flees.  The battle is over.
With the Government army down to only two units remaining, it is forced to concede the field.  Victory for the Rebels!

That was good fun and moved along at a rapid pace.

The amendments Peter has introduced provide a more satisfying game than the Original OHW and offers many more interesting decision points.  I can see tactics beginning to develop.  Peter's D3 rules simply work to produce an easy to learn and fast game.

Flush with success, I quickly took up Peter's offer for a second game next week.  D3 rules will still be in play but the wargaming period may change.  I placed an order for a handful of D3 dice for use in the next game.  Dice have arrived and I am ready for a rematch.  More on the rules after I get another game or two notched into my belt.

The answer to my original question?

D3!  

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Period Preferences for Wargamers

Having last examined wargaming period preferences in the 2020 Great Wargaming Survey (GWS) (see Favorite Gaming Periods), time to re-examine this topic and see if preferences have changed over the last two years.

Differences may exist since the way in which the survey captured responses to the question of preferred wargaming period(s) changed.  The 2020 survey allowed respondents to rank all choices.  The 2022 survey allowed, at most, three choices in the ranking.  To investigate the overall popularity of a wargaming period, up to three choices per respondent are aggregated across all responses.  The results are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1
What the survey shows is that World War 2 is the top wargaming period across all respondents with the rank order of the top 5 as,
  1. World War 2
  2. Science Fiction (excl WH40k)
  3. Fantasy (excl. WH40k/Age of Sigmar)
  4. Warhammer 40k
  5. Napoleonics
In the 2020 survey, we saw that the Top 5 periods were,
  1. World War 2
  2. Fantasy (excl. WH40k/Age of Sigmar)
  3. Science Fiction (excl WH40k)
  4. Warhammer 40k
  5. Ancients
Still, the results really did not change.  Again, WW2 comes in at the top spot in the survey with non-historicals dominating ranks 2-4.   The top 4 remain the same in 2022 as in 2020 with place changes as noted.  Science Fiction swapped places with Fantasy in the 2022 survey while Napoleonics edged out Ancients for (5) spot.  Of course, aggregating across five places rather than three could make some difference in rank order. 

Can any useful inferences be made by examining period preference by a few select attributes?

Primary Interest
One noticeable tendency when looking at Primary Interest is that wargamers considering themselves neither primarily historical nor non-historical are satisfied in playing almost any period.  These typically "Mixed" wargamers make up between 40-60% of each period.

From Figure 2, primarily historical wargamers tend to stick to historical periods and primarily non-historical gamers tend to remain with non-historical periods.  The two do not often mix in large numbers.

Figure 2
Age Group
As has been reported in other analyses, period preference tends to be dependent upon age.  Here again (see Figure 3), there is a clear demarcation between historical and non-historical wargamers.  Historical periods tend to see heavy interest by older wargamers (51+) while non-historical periods are the realm of younger age cohorts.  American Civil War, Pike & Shot, 18th Century, and Colonial Wars are especially favorites of the 61+ group.

In between these contrasting swings in preference, WW2, Ancients, Medievals, and Dark Ages tend to see interest from all age groups.
Figure 3
Group Size
Looking at Group Size and Period Preference (see Figure 4) produces an interesting result.  Historical wargamers are more likely to game solo than are their non-historical counterparts.  For all periods, about 60% of all respondents game in a group of four or fewer players.  Notice that wargamers having a preference for the American Civil War are more likely to game solo (18.6%) than any other group.  Why do historical gamers gravitate toward solo play more than their non-historical counterparts and why especially ACW wargamers?
Figure 4
Figure Size
From survey results, 25mm-32mm figures dominate the non-historical periods (see Figure 5).  Periods often considered well-suited for skirmish gaming (Old West, Pulp, Age of Sail/Pirates, Colonials) are also dominated by these figure sizes

While 25mm-32mm figures garner at least half of the market share in all historical periods, 15mm and smaller figures still maintain a solid foothold in these historical periods.  For historical periods, 15mm commands the under 25mm figure size.   
Figure 5
While WW2 continues to hold its place at the top of the charts with broad appeal as favorite wargaming period, drawing in primarily non-historical wargamers to historicals appears difficult.  Perhaps a better avenue to crossover from primarily non-historical wargamers is through Medievals and Dark Ages gaming.  Considering that 40-60% of wargamers fall into the "Mixed" classification (somewhere in between the two extremes), perhaps there is little need to actively recruit primarily historical or primarily non-historical wargamers to the other side.

Other attributes may affect period preference including the type and size of game enjoyed.  Does any particular result stand out from the reader's perspective?

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Sumerian Archers and Battles Fought

Despite a continued steady-stream of games (three, this past week) and a number of battle reports and analyses projects in work (not all wargaming related), figures are still mustering out from the workbench.  In fact, total figures painted for 2022 is nearing 1,000.  I should push through that hurdle by year-end.

Today sees two, nine figure units of Sumerian archers emerge.  These two stands of massed archers will be classified as 'T' missile troops in ImpetvsTo the Strongest! likely has an equivalent classification for massed archers.  Figures are from Newline Designs.

More Sumerians to come with one unit of heavy infantry and two skirmisher bow finished and awaiting time at the photo booth.  One more BMU of heavy infantry and one more massed archer unit is currently in work at the painting desk.

Also finished and awaiting a turn for a photo shoot are four regiments of Spanish infantry and two regiments of Reichsarmee infantry for the SYW/WAS 18mm project.

On the gaming table, Cropredy Bridge lingers.  My goal I to get at least one or two more playings from the scenario before packing it all away and moving onto another battle.  I am tempted to have a go at it solo and see if the Royalists can triumph after seeing two tabletop losses.  With the rules fresh in minds, perhaps another ECW battle should be given consideration?  We will see if there is interest for a follow-up battle.

Besides the Cropredy Bridge remote fight on Monday, Tuesday saw me participating in a WWII tactical action on the Western Front.  As German platoon commander, I faced an attacking American company. The German objective was to defend two vital points: a bridge and a crossroads.  Funny that the only American at the table commanded the Germans while all British players commanded American platoons.  Facing 3:1 odds against, how did my Germans fare?  While I did not take many screenshots, I may be able to piece together some semblance of a BatRep.  Good fun!

On the Western Front

On Thursday, Peter (of Grid Based Wargaming) invited me to participate in a remote game using his D3 Horse and Musket rules and his 40mm paper soldiers.  Of course, I jumped at the opportunity.

In another post, I will follow-up with a brief recap of the Jacobite battle to demonstrate how the D3 rules work, first impressions, and how my Highlanders fared.

As a glimpse of possible battle outcome, the screenshot below shows my Highlanders maneuvering onto the government army's left flank.  

Highlanders flank the enemy!
Any guesses on the outcome?

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Cropredy Bridge BatRep

The background for Cropredy Bridge was presented in the previous post (see: On The Table Today Is).  Now, time to present the action, itself.

Four players took up the challenge in a remote game with Chris and Richard taking command of the Parliamentarian Army while Steve and Tony took command of the Royalist Army.  While Richard had played the rules, A Reign Cut Short, one time, perhaps a year ago, the others received their baptism of fire.  The rules are my own work with original inspiration coming from Howard Whitehouse's Ironsides.

Without further ado, on to battle!
(Arrows: White=move; Yellow=retreat; Red=melee).

Armies drawn up for battle.

Middleton rushes over Cropredy Bridge
 with infantry following.
With Royalist horse arrayed upon the heights, 
Astley's infantry march toward Hays Bridge.
Astley on the march.
Coming down from the heights,
 Wilmot's horse deploys.
Middleton counters. 
Middleton and Wilmot eye each other nervously.
Who will flinch first?
View from behind the Royalist position.
Northampton on the left (foreground).
Waller on the left (background).
Astley's foote regiments swing into line facing the enemy.
Wilmot and Cleveland charge toward Middleton's horse.
A swirling melee erupts in charges and countercharges.
When the dust settles, each command loses
two horse regiments with one more wavering.
Vandruske brings up his foote.
With cavalry in tatters to his left, Vandruske advances
 his infantry toward the Royalist positions.
As Waller's dragoons mount up,
Waller prepares to attack Northampton.
Taking fire from Vandruske, Wilmot is forced to retire.
Waller advances on the right
 while Northampton moves up.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place,
Northampton forms his brigade into a wedge.
Waller closes in on Northampton from all sides.
Dragoons guarding Hays Bridge.
Waller attacks and Northampton is destroyed!
The dragoons guarding Hays Bridge,
 safely behind the barricades, come forward.
With the right secure,
Vandruske presses on against the Royalist center.
Middleton attacks the bold dragoons near Hays Bridge.
The dragoons are put to flight
as they scurry back across the bridge.
The dragoons rout!
While Vandruske's left regiment of foote
suffers a setback in melee,
the other scatters Astley's yellow coats
 as they dissolve under fire.
 
As Vandruske's bluecoats crest the hill,
Wilmot realizes it is time to disengage.
with his path to Hays Bridge cut off, the battle is over.
Yes, the battle is over.  The Parliamentarians win a major victory as Wilmot's rear column is effectively destroyed.

What began with great promise for the Royalists in their early cavalry attacks upon Middleton quickly unraveled when Northampton was caught in a pincer by Waller and Vandruske.  With no artillery on the field, the Royalists found themselves at a disadvantage although Parliamentarian artillery was generally ineffective but sometimes a nuisance.

Congratulations to Richard and Chris for their superb handling of the Parliamentarian Army.  Rather than strike with Middleton directly toward Hays Bridge (as historically), Chris chose to engage the enemy cavalry first.  Richard's dismantling of Northampton will be one for the record books.  

Thanks to Steve and Tony for offering up a solid defense while providing an entertaining game.  With one game under their belts, no guarantee that this result could be repeated.  For me, great fun in bringing together distant gamers for an enjoyable session.  I look forward to the next time.