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?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Taking a Dip

With the exception of the Sash & Saber Swiss recently completed, the remaining Sash & Saber French never made it through the now standard Minwax stain treatment.  One battalion of Elite French and one battalion of Front Rank French legere also made it into the dip in this round as well as all French skirmishers. 
French and Swiss After Minwax
The stain provides a much greater depth to the figure and nicely outlines the webbing, clothing folds, facial features, etc..  Some may not like the look but I have grown quite fond of the method and results.  While results are better with uniforms in a more earth tone palette, for me, it works for most uniforms.

From the side-by-side comparison photo of the Swiss below, the contrast between the unstained (left) and stained (right) is apparent.
Swiss Before
There!  The Sash & Saber French contingents are now consistent with their brethren from other manufacturers.  I await a resupply of Tajima tufts to finish the bases.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

10th Chasseurs a Cheval

A fourth unit of 28mm Napoleonics passes off from the painting desk in February.  This time, we see two squadrons (eight troopers) of the French 10th Chasseurs a Cheval Regiment.  Figures are Front Rank.  Having minimal lace and cords, these practical chasseurs make for a relaxing project.   

With four units completed in February thus far, I am beginning to see a little, noticeable  progress on The Lead Pile with respect to 28mm Napoleonic stockpiles.  Before my self-imposed challenge expires, I may finish one or possibly two more units.

Turning back to the painting desk, in work is an 18 figure British battalion of foot.  The figures are, again, Front Rank but this time composed of Front Rank's latest models found in the Reinforcement packs.  Gorgeous figures and now my favorite 28mm Napoleonics.  With all of the lace and webbing, these will take a bit longer than anticipated to complete.  

One revelation from this exercise is that additional figures will be needed to complete some of the partial units remaining.  Included in this discovery, a few of the Front Rank horses are the wrong type for the accompanying rider.  When buying second hand unpainted lead, one much ensure that the correct figures are included.  That will need addressing too.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

4th Swiss Regiment

Napoleonic troops in  28mm continue rolling off from the production line for service in the peninsula.  Mustering out today is the second battalion of the 4th Swiss Regiment of 16 figures.
The figures in the 2/4 Swiss are a mix of two manufacturers' figures.  The command figures are Front Rank while the fusiliers and elites are Sash & Saber.  Sash & Saber are a little smaller than the Front Rank but on the table top they look all right to me.
Below, the 2/4 Swiss deploys with its sister battalion the 1/4 Swiss having skirmishers thrown out ahead of the main battle line.  From the photo, it appears the 1/4 needs a bit of an upgrade.  A dip treatment and additional foliage on the base is needed to bring it up to specs with the 2/4.
In battle, would it not be quite easy to mistake these Swiss for British?  I think so!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Lancashire Games Winter Sale Bonanza

Liking what I saw of my earlier Lancashire Games' order, I placed one more order before the Winter Sale expired.  With a double discount in force (15% Winter Sale plus the multiple Battle Pack discount), how could I reset?  Well, clearly, I could not! 

Order was placed on 31JAN2015 and delivered to Washington State on 12FEB2015.  Again, excellent turn around.  As I mentioned in an earlier posting upon receipt of my first large order from Lancashire Games (see 1859-Austrian Double Shot), the 40% postage charged on order did not tie with actual postage delivery charge.  In the case of this latest order, postage charged was BP39.30 while actual postage charge came in at BP26.96.  Allan automatically refunded BP10 after my package was shipped. Fantastic!  Allan mentions that he routinely refunds postage charges on large orders when such discrepancies arise.  Good form!

What did I order this time?  Having not seen any cavalry, picking up some troopers was a top priority.  I chose cavalry for the 1859 project including Austrian uhlans and hussars; Sardinian heavy cavalry; and French chasseurs a cheval and hussars.  Other cavalry included French horse from the FRW range consisting of hussars and line cavalry.  Exquisite stuff!  How will these cavalry fit with Old Glory and Mirliton for the 1859 project and AB and Eureka for the 1799 project?  We will see.  The box of goodies has yet to make it down into the game room.  Rounding out the order were 1859 French infantry, Austrian artillerymen and command, and Sardinian Bersaglieri.

Now, I must get through more 28mm Napoleonic lead before turning some attention to these beauties.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

British 30th Foot - Old Glory 2

Continuing on with my self-imposed Nothing But Napoleonics February, off the painting desk marches an 18 figure battalion of British infantry.  These figures are my first eye-witness sampling of Old Glory's Second Edition 28mm Napoleonics.  Compared against Front Rank or Brigade Games'  28s, these guys are slender, pencil-waisted leadmen.  Really!  With no hips and skinny legs, how could they keep their trouser hoisted up?  I suppose figures represent a unit after several seasons of hard campaigning and deprivation.  A shadow they will not cast!   
Still, the figures are quite serviceable despite their scrawny build and occasional ugly mug and, hopefully, fight like a tiger on the tabletop.  Having their own charm, an entire army of these figures would look good.  On the gaming table, they will look fine among the other manufacturers' figures.  
Next off the painting desk will be a unit of Sash & Saber French line masquerading as Swiss.

Monday, February 9, 2015

State of the Painting Desk

Despite interior painting in full scale this past weekend, time was found for a few relaxing sessions at the painting desk too.  Both painting tasks I find relaxing although time spent figure painting is much preferred. 

On the workbench, the finishing touches are being applied to two battalions of 28mm Napoleonic infantry: one British (foreground) and one Swiss (background).
With both having red jackets, I figured why not knock out two red-coated battalions at once?  Of course, with different accoutrements only a little time was saved.  In the end, two battalions will march off the desk instead of the usual one.

To the right of the photo is a portion of the next unit to see action on the painting desk once the infantry have mustered out.  That next unit to see the brush with be French chasseurs a cheval from Front Rank

This edition's look at the painting desk shows a surprise entry.  The surprise is a jump start into my planned Great Italian Wars project in 28mm.  Part of the recent haul of lead for this project included about 100 painted figures of Swiss and Landsknecht.  The pike figures arrived expertly based on 40mm x 40mm bases with four figures per base.  At first I considered mounting three such bases onto an Impetvs sized sabot but quickly realized I would not be able to duplicate the basing technique.  With an overnight soak, the existing bases were removed and the figures dried and affixed to the standard Impetvs base.
That is where I am in the rebasing process.  Now, the bases need painting and flocking.  Once completed, ten pike blocks, four doppelsoldner, and two gun stands (not shown) will be ready for action.  Nearly an instant army.  Nice, eh?  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

British 10th Hussars

As alluded to in the prior posting, Napoleonics in 28mm are seeing activity on the painting desk.  Trotting off the production line is an eight figure unit of Front Rank British hussars.  These hussars muster out as two squadrons of the 10th Hussar Regiment.

Two more Napoleonic units are on the workbench. With February being a short month, perhaps, I will proclaim that February will be the month for painting solely 28mm Napoleonics?  Right. The SAW US infantry recently completed will get an exemption.  Wonder if I can maintain focus on one period for an entire month?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

SAW US Colored Infantry II - Old Glory

A second, five stand unit of U.S. colored infantry from Old Glory's Spanish-American War range exits the painting desk in open order.  With the addition of these fine fellows, the U.S. total reaches 105 figures.  Before the project can take the step over into the critical mass needed for a small game, I ought to work on fielding an artillery piece or two for the Americans.  Since the Spanish still outnumber the Americans in this project, more American foot sloggers are needed too.

After my 28mm Napoleonic project review (See Anatomy of Project), the next few units seeing activity on the painting desk are all 28mm Napoleonics.  What is in work?  British hussars, and British and Swiss foot.  That will keep me busy.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Battle of Maisnon - BatRep

Having reached critical mass and wanting to get his latest project onto the gaming table, Jake hosted an afternoon of gaming at his casa in Moscow.   Kevin and I made the trip from Spokane while Don made the journey from Nez Perce.

What was the latest project about to see its maiden battle?  Great Italian Wars in 28mm using Impetvs.  Jake has been working on this project for about one year and great progress has been made.

Before the battle, a short teaser was sent out to participants to set the stage.  Included was a sketch map, OB, and background.

Battle of Maisnon:
"Situation: Mercenaries in them Employ of Charles V have captured a key crossroads south of the Town of Maisnon, rechristening the town "Machtsnichts". The site is also the location of the only traffic-able ford across the Aben river capable of handling heavy supply wagons. The local noble has assembled his Gendarmes and is leading a group of Swiss Mercenaries and local militia to re-open the road."
The stage is set!

To read Jake's battle perspective and to see the full OB employed, visit, Battle of Maisnon at Dartfrog's Adventures in 6mm.

Upon arrival, we were treated to a display on the sunken sand table.  Nifty bit of construction work by Jake, himself.  After the battlefield was shaped, a game mat and terrain were placed on top.
Initial deployments
As the French attackers, Don and I line up on the left with an objective of clearing out the opposition to open up the river crossing.  Don's column is deployed against the river with an objective of cutting the road.  My objective on the right is to eliminate the Imperial cavalry opposite my position and then swing onto the enemy flank.
French forces
Imperial forces deployed to interdict
French Gendarmes on the right
German cavalry on Imperial left
As the battle begins, the French right lopes into action.  With the Imperial left covered by artillery, French light cavalry is sent forward in an effort to screen the gendarmes from cannon fire. 
French right advances
While the Imperials wait, the French begin a general advance upon the German and Spanish positions.  With evenly matched forces, the French attackers will likely suffer.
Battle view behind French lines
French (in foreground) left advances
Not content to allow the French to advance unmolested, artillery and arquebus fire begins to take its toll on the French horse while the gendarmes cross the open ground.
Gendarmes advance
German cavalry trot out to meet the French
while Imperial left outflanks the French (in background)
With their flank being threatened, the French pikes advance.  Getting within striking distance of the Imperial line, the French left closes.  Led by the Swiss, the pike block strikes into the Spanish pike.
Swiss strike Spanish pike
On the other flank, the gendarmes charge in as well.  After a heavy clash, the French heavies prevail and clear the enemy left of their horse.
Gendarmes overpower the Germans cavalry
Unaware of the pike clash on the French far left, the gendarme charge on the right may be too little too late.  The critical phase of the battle is unfolding on the left.  The Spanish, pushed back by the impetus of the Swiss, are rescued by a timely counterattack.     
The Swiss, themselves, pushed back, fall under artillery fire and are then attacked once again by the weakened Spanish pike.  Bold move on the Spanish to attack having been weakened in the earlier fight.
Swiss pushed back,
and counterattacked by Spanish pike.
This day, God was with the Spanish as their counterattack caught the Swiss off balance.  Striking a severe blow, four hits on four dice are scored against the Swiss with only one loss to themselves.
Miraculous! Four Hits to the Swiss!
and take only one
Having lost the Swiss and with the remainder of the French left in tatters, the French general calls off the attack.  No victory for his troops today.
French disengage
What a fun and tense battle!  The destruction of the Swiss sealed the fate of the French aggressors.  Within the confines of the valley, the French could do little more than advance straight ahead and into the teeth of Charles V's force.

While we have gamed Basic Impetvs (BI) in both the Punic Wars and Reconquista, light troops actually had an impact in the outcome of this game.  In the Great Italian Wars, the skirmish stands of doppelsoldners hold a positive Impetus bonus allowing them to wade into the pike blocks and knock the starch out of the freshly pressed formation.  Accomplishing that task pays dividends later when the pikes no longer maintain their Impetus bonus.  In a similar light infantry tactic, the arquebus-armed lights can stand off at a distance and pepper away at the more dense pike blocks hoping to score a hit.

Now, I am planning a force to field as well.  Maybe that was Jake's plan all along?