Wednesday, December 30, 2020

In the Nick of Time!

Off the painting desk is the final piece of my self-challenge of painting twenty Hittite units in 2020.  Beginning from Ground Zero at the start of the year, I can now field a Hittite army of twenty BMUs.  Eight of these twenty units are chariots.  Certainly enough to take to the field.  Perhaps I can even field them in a Kadesh-like battle against the newly arrived Egyptian army?  The chariot and crew are from Wargames Foundry.  The runners are from Newline Designs.  By the way, Newline Designs is scheduled to begin a January sale on the 3rd.  Yippee!   
While 2020 has a few days remaining before the calendar is ripped apart, thoughts have been drifting toward painting goals for 2021.  Still too early to formalize goals and objectives but I lean toward two new projects in 2021.  Of course, current projects will continue to see a steady flow of paint as well. 

On painting goals,  I smashed my expectations on 2020 targets.  Details on the number of figures crossing my painting desk will be illustrated in a year-end wrap-up in a week or two when I release a barrage of graphics.  A goal of 900 painted figures was my target but managed to paint about 1,500.  Still, The Lead Pile does not look noticeably smaller. 

The planned refight of Rivoli 1797 should be ready to kick-off near the anniversary date of the battle, perhaps, near the second week of January.  As final preparations are put in order, a second call to arms to armchair generals interested in participating in order writing and decision-making will go out.  Four readers showed interest before.  We will see if these four are still interested and whether others may join in.

On the gaming front, remote gaming seems in full swing.  A refight of the WotR Battle of Wakefield was fought yesterday with the Lancastrians controlling the field but the Yorkists accomplishing their pre-battle objectives.  It was a good, solid fight and great fun.  For Graham's account of the action, please visit Wakefield: Won and Lost.  Anyone guess as to the period of a possible 2021 project?

Sunday, December 27, 2020

With a Friend Like This

Well, I imagine most would wish for a friend like this.  A few days before Christmas, my long-time gaming buddy, Jake (see: Dartfrog's Adventures in 6mm), let me know that he would be in town for the afternoon and we could exchange our traditional Christmas gifts.  This year with social distancing, I would leave my package on the porch and Jake would make the swap in a drive-by gift exchange.  I did not see him pull up into the driveway.  By the time I did, he was back in his vehicle, waved and was on his way.  What I saw deposited on my porch was a large sack having several boxes stacked within.  I did not know what they were until I returned inside.  When the items were pulled from the boxes, I found this.
Jake's entire 28mm Egyptian Kushite Army built to face my Assyrians.  What?  That's right.  Jake gifted me his collection of Egyptians.  Astonishing generosity.  I was gobsmacked.  What a spectacle!
Jake's Egyptians were part of a joint project built to face my growing Assyrians.  With lead time required to paint these armies, scheduling challenges, and finally this year, COVID, we only managed two games with our armies in three years.  Since we are separated by about 80 miles, our schedules have not allowed for as much gaming time as hoped.
With my pandemic-inspired layoff in June prompted by the collapse of the commercial airline industry, Jake said his Egyptian Army would make for a suitable retirement commemoration.  I should say so!  Besides, he added, "you will have more time to game now and I have no plans to build an opposing army."  One funny note from this is that my Hittite build for 2020 had fighting these Egyptians on the field of battle as its primary goal!
Chapeau to you, my friend.  One day, you be able to command these troops, once again, on the field of battle.

Amazing, huh?  What a great friend and a pleasantly surprising end to an unpleasantly challenging year.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Happy Holidays!

2020 has been a singular year for many, no doubt. Christmas is no exception.  No white Christmas this year so I won't be pulling Santa's sleigh through the snow.  I will not be doing much of anything celebratory, actually.  Washington State is prohibiting indoor gatherings with people from outside your household unless they quarantine for fourteen days  prior to the social gathering or quarantine for seven days prior to the social gathering and receive a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 48-hours prior to the gathering.  Yeah, that puts a damper on most holiday celebrations in the Pacific Northwest.

Given these constraints, Christmas will be a quiet affair.  Christmas dinner preparations will be for two rather than ten.  The low key holiday may allow for some extra concentration at the painting desk while visions of new projects dance in my head.

One wargaming related Christmas gift came early and it is a real doozy.  I will share this generous gift in another post.  Until then, I wish everyone a

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Bridge to Victory

Photo courtesy wargamesinthedungeon
In the final installment of the three game mini-campaign following the exploits of obtaining 'Old Molly', the Americans have the difficult task of bridging a river under the face of enemy fire.  Seemed unlikely when I first saw the scenario.  Seemed more of a possibility as the game wore on.  Seemed unlikely again after the Americans faced a near catastrophic turn of events.

While the Americans could come on anywhere on their side of the board, the British would arrive at random locations on their side of the board.  Bridging sites were not confined to the obvious locations but the Americans could build a bridge or bridges anywhere along the river. 
Battle map.  Photo courtesy wargamesinthedungeon
Given the terrain, as the American, I figured the best protected place to bridge would be at the road at the top of the table.  At this site, my flank could not be turned and the wheatfield would offer cover to my troops as they protected the bridging party.

For another perspective (and better photos!), please visit Matt's battle account at AWI Campaign: Old Molly Part 3.

Let's see how this action played out.  Play-by-Play embedded within photos.

Photo courtesy wargamesinthedungeon
For the third game in this trilogy, the outcome was in the balance until the very end.  As the American commander, I saw no path to victory at the start.  How could I build a bridge in the face of enemy fire?  I figured the scenario would be a rear-guard action with the Americans trying to delay the British until the bridge could be built.  Imagine my surprise to discover that the bridging sites were contested by enemy troops as Jessop arrived!

Hat's off to Matt for another close and exciting game.  The battle swayed to and fro and victory was up for grabs until the very end. Well done!

Another mini-campaign is under consideration.

Monday, December 21, 2020

One More Celtic Chariot

The last stand of Newline Designs' Celtic chariots rolls off the painting desk.  Last stand until Newline Designs offers up its January sale, that is.  This stand brings the total complement of chariots to five or maybe six.  My recordkeeping is a bit suspect because I thought I fielded two BTD chariots and four Newline chariots.  Perhaps there was only one BTD chariot?  I need to pull figures from their boxes and make a double check.

Rather than fielding another chariot for the Celts, I really should be finishing off the Hittite 20 in 2020 project.  At last count, 19 units have been completed this year with one more to reach the goal.  Another Hittite chariot was planned and while I opted to field a chariot, a momentary lapse pushed a Celtic cart into the painting queue.  A final piece for the 2020 goal is in work in the form of a Newline Design Hittite chariot.  The Hittite chariot and many more packs were picked up during Newline's summer anniversary sale.  Speaking of the Newline's sales, another is upcoming in January.  I am making a list and checking it twice.  While I still have many of the Hittites picked up in the anniversary sale remaining in bags and unpainted, there is always plenty of interest to consider.  One possibility is a new project in 2021.  Maybe I will commit to a 21 in 2021 goal for this new interest?  
The painting table has not seen much activity this past week.  Remote gaming as well as compiling battle reports have taken much of my hobby time.  Hard to believe that I managed four remote gaming sessions in the last eight days.  Unbelievable, really.  What will be especially hard to believe is if I resist starting a new project in one of these recently gamed periods.

Plans during the holidays include working on the next Great Wargaming Survey 2020 analysis; a battle report on the last of the three-game, AWI Rebels and Patriots, mini-campaign encounters to get 'Old Molly' to safety; my command trials as Marshall de Saxe at the head of the French army at the Battle of Rocoux; my thoughts on wargaming books that captured my imagination and ignited my life-long fascination with wargaming; and a photo tour of my military history and wargaming library.  Now, Wargaming reflections may be only a first crack at this topic with a focus on the books or publications that ignited the passion.  Other follow-ups may include those books most impactful on my wargaming adventure and my Top 10 wargaming books.  Oh, expect some more painted units to cross over to the Painted side of the ledger before year-end too.  With luck, some of these might actually be realized before 2020 rolls off the calendar.    

Friday, December 18, 2020

Battle of Blore Heath

In my second gaming session of the week, I participated in a remote battle via Skype to refight the Battle of Blore Heath during the War of the Roses.  Richard hosted the battle and five players convened to fight it out.  Rules used were Richard's own Battle Commander rules.  This is my second game with these rules and there is a lot to like.

Each commander takes on leadership of one Battle consisting of three lines of troops.  While three maneuver elements may not seem like much to command, the rules offer much in tactical nuance between each of the lines and decisions are aplenty.  Casualties and morale levels are tracked via a roster.  Each roster is arranged in such a manner that everything needed for the commander is at-hand and available at a glance.  

Without further adieu, on to the battle.  Battle commentary is embedded within each game photo and arrows signify movement (white), attacks (red), and retreats (yellow). 

Again, even in defeat, this battle was great fun.  The interplay between the different arms and battle lines produces a very interesting and nail-biting game.

Thanks to Richard for hosting such a fine presentation and to the group for an enjoyable gaming experience!  WotR is suddenly becoming even more tempting...

For another battle perspective, please visit Graham's battle report, The Battle of Blor-e Heath

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Jessop and His Scoundrels Escape!

Photo courtesy Wargamesinthedungeon
Having taken the siege gun 'Old Molly' in the previous episode (see Action at Oak Tree Forge), Jessop Callahan and his merry band set off to fetch the gun back into friendly territory.  Unfortunately for the colonials, the woods are teeming with hidden enemy ready to pounce when the time is right.  Flush with his success in securing the gun, Jessop thinks little of security on his march through 'Indian Country' and has neglected to send out flankers.  What could go wrong?

The gaming table is laid out and poker chips scattered about the beautiful terrain.  Jessop's colonials will be in march column with the goal of exiting the table in the lower right of the game table shown in the photo below.  His order of march is randomly determined. 

Similarly, the British ambushing forces are randomly allocated to jump off points too.  The British, under the command of Archibald Watts, are set on recovering 'Old Molly' lost during the heated action at Oak Tree Forge.  Archie's objective is to prevent the Americans from exiting with the gun and to destroy the colonials' will-to-fight by scattering Jessop's column.  

For more scenario details, better in-battle photos, and Matt's perspective on this action, please visit Wargamesinthedungeon, AWI Campaign, 'Old Molly' Part 2.
Initial dispositions
Photo courtesy Wargamesinthedungeon
Once again, my battle report is viewed from the Zoom-cam and told from the American perspective. Descriptions of the action are embedded within each photo. White arrows show movement. Red arrows show fire or charges. Yellow arrows show retreats. For me, viewing as a slide show works well.  Now, on to the action!

This action was really a nail-biter from the get-go.  When I first saw my marching order nearly surrounded by a ring of British jump-off points, my confidence was not high.  The Americans got lucky in that 'Old Molly' was in the middle of the column rather than at the back.  The British were unlucky in that only Archibald's regiment was situated on the far side of the creek.  If the Americans could push hard down the road and cross the bridge before Archibald could be reinforced, the battle may be won. 

Early on, Archibald had difficulty getting the Natives to act in a timely manner.  When the Natives finally closed, the warbands cut through the green troops and colonial skirmishers like a hot knife through butter.  That success was short-lived, however.  At a crucial time in the battle where Archibald could have dispersed the Virginians and perhaps the Delawareans as they approached their objective, the British failed two activations.  That, and the Natives inability to crush Jessop allowed the Americans to slip away.  As Jessop and 'Old Molly' exited the table, Archibald was heard to exclaim, "Jessop and his scoundrels escape!"  Oh, did I mention that Matt's newly painted British light infantry skirmishers, seen here, attacked quickly and retreated just as quickly?

Thanks again to Matt for designing and GMing a very entertaining action.  It really was a near run thing.  What waits for Game three?