Sunday, May 28, 2023

Grenadiers de France

I can only speak for myself but after having been away for more than a week, finding time to sit down for meaningful painting sessions has been challenging. Yard work beckons and so does the bike. Even without the commitment to a game or two fails to free up much time. Games are on the horizon, however.
Anyway, off the painting table today is a regiment of Grenadiers de France for the SYW project. The 23 figures field Blue Moon foot led by a Eureka mounted colonel. Flags are by David at Not By Appointment. David has been providing me with a steady stream of flags for the lads. Some Piedmontese are in the works.

I have not hosted a game in a few weeks but that will change soon.  On deck, plans are formulating to host an ACW battle.  Fresh off my battlefield tours, I am inspired to field a few of the battles visited on the gaming table.  First up will be the 1861 Battle of First Manassas.  As scenario work progresses, I have at least three games lining up.  One looks to muster five players for a remote game.  Several others may see me fighting it out against an opponent in a one-on-one setting.  More details as plans and scenario solidify.  Much work remains to accomplish.

On the cycling front, mileage picks up again after a week away from the bike.  Despite a seemingly unending string of thunderstorms, I have been out daily.  On Saturday's ride, I was unfortunately caught out in a localized cloud burst and spent much of the two-hour ride in the rain.  The bike and I returned home a mud-caked mess.

I end on a selection of photos from my recent cycling outings.

The Pavilion
Upper Falls with river near flood stage
Spokane's de facto furry mascot: The marmot.
This rodent is about 8 lbs. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

On the Reliability of Data

The Great Wargaming Survey (GWS) accepts voluntary responses from any participant completing the survey.  No random sampling mechanism is in place.  Sampling is by convenience.  Since a respondent must have knowledge of the survey, access to the questionnaire to participate, and an interest in wargaming, the final dataset is naturally constrained to this population.  For each annual survey, all respondents submitting a survey (excluding those having data quality issues) are included in a cross-sectional study.  Cross-sectional studies collect data from many subjects at a single point in time.   

The relaxation of random sampling methods may introduce bias.  Having a sample not drawn randomly, a sample may not fully represent the population as a whole.  Inferences may be misleading.  The possibility of sampling bias has been a regular concern raised by more than one reader over the years of publishing aggregated survey results.   

Is the concern for sampling bias justified?  Does a sample size hovering around 10,000 annually mitigate bias?  Can survey analysis provide reasonable and useful results in the face of potential sampling bias?

What if the same target population is sampled at regular intervals?  Does repeated sampling improve confidence in the underlying method?  
At each interval (annually for the GWS), the survey collects a different sample of the target population.  This is a repeated cross-sectional study.  Repeated cross-sectional studies can be used for analyzing population changes over time even though the samples, themselves, are not identical.

To gain confidence in the methods used and results presented, each survey ought to be drawing similar samples from the target population.

To assess this hypothesis, a few of the demographic attributes are selected for the years 2016-2022.

Prior Survey Response by Year
In a repeated survey, the earliest years ought to see fewer repeat respondents than in later years as the probability of having completed the survey increases.  What is interesting is that the percentage of repeat respondents stabilizes at about 50% since 2020.  About half of each sample is generated by respondents not participating in the survey before.  Surprising result?
Years Spent Wargaming by Year
When capturing the number of years spent wargaming, besides 2016 and 2017, the percentage of respondents in each duration bin are relatively stable.  Wargamers gaming 31 years or more remains locked into the upper 30% range. 
Respondent Location by Year
When examining respondent location over time, again, the time series remains stable.
Age Group by Year
Examining the time series by age shows an interesting but not unexpected result.  Given that prior analyses suggest that the population of wargamers is getting older in aggregate, samples drawn from a similar population ought to produce this tendency.  The chart below exhibits the tendency of older cohorts increasing over time.
Primary Interest By Year
Finally, consider a respondent's primary interest in wargaming.
Over time, we see a shift from Fantasy/Sci-Fi to both Mixed, and Historicals.  Given the tendency for non-historical wargamers to gravitate away from preferring purely non-historical wargaming as they age, the underlying samples seem drawn from similar populations.
While GWS samples may not be drawn randomly, the hypothesis that these data are drawn from similar populations across time should not be rejected outright.

Can results from several years of the GWS be relied upon for useful inferences on the population of wargamers?  The answer is up to the individual.  I know my position.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Freitag of Arabia

Peter (Grid Based Wargaming) returned to his WWI in Palestine campaign for another episode.  His battle account is available from the link above.  This time, Palestine is consumed in the Arab Revolt.  J.R. Freitag leads Arab forces in an attempt to thwart Turkish troop transports from reaching the front. 

Having mustered an armored car, two cavalry units, and three infantry units, Freitag must stop the train.  On the train are four units of Turkish infantry and an artillery piece.  The train is armed with a single machine gun.

Can Freitag and his Arab allies overpower the train and its cargo before 15 turns elapse?

Let's see...
As the train approaches, the Arabs barricade the track.
Poised in hiding on both sides of the track, the Arabs wait.
Arab AC emerges from the village to harass the enemy.
Arabs burst from their cover and move toward the train.
Arab machine gun provides cover from the hilltop.
Two Turkish infantry detrain as the train comes under fire.
The Arabs close in as their fire concentrates
onto the Turk in the open.
One Turk infantry destroyed!
Nearly surrounded,
 a second Turkish infantry unit is scattered.
The train lurches forward but is stopped at the barricade. 
Two more Turk infantry detrain along with an artillery piece.
The Arabs remain beyond the field of fire of the train's MG.
A coordinated attack by three Arab arms
destroys a third Turk infantry.
Jubilation is short-lived.
Taking fire from artillery,
the armored car is consumed in smoke as it stops, dead.
Freitag and his Arabs move in for the kill.
Turkish artillery scatters Arab infantry to its front.  
Overpowered, the Turk artillery is destroyed.
With the Game Clock tolling the 15th turn,
 the train's MG is taken out.
Freitag is Victorious! 
A fun and tense game that came down to a decision on the final turn. 

Early on, it appeared the Arabs would make easy work of the Turks.  Turks fell in rapid succession until casualties began to creep up for the Arabs.  Suddenly, Freitag's Arabs failed activation after activation only mustering enough strength to successfully attack the train's MG on the final turn.

I wonder if Freitag will be Knighted?   

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Piedmont Guards and Grenadiers

On the path toward fielding a Piedmontese army for the War of Austrian Succession, more Piedmontese march out from the painting desk.  This time rather than run-of-the-mill infantry, guards and grenadiers make an appearance.

In my earlier refight of Bassignana, both a regiment of Guard and a battalion of grenadiers were present on the day of battle.  Unfortunately, ersatz guard and grenadiers were needed to fill these slots.  Next time, the proper units will be present and available for duty.

Figures are Old Glory infantry led by a Eureka mounted colonel for the Guard.  Flag is from Not By Appointment.

Piedmont Grenadiers
Piedmont Guard
Piedmont Guard
Made it back from a weeklong exploration of several ACW battlefields on Tuesday.  It may take a bit of rest to recover.  A number of miles put into the legs tramping over battlefields.  No time to rest, though, Peter is hosting a continuation of his long running WWI Campaign in Palestine later today.  We see the first appearance of the Arab Rebellion.  I may be playing the role of Lawrence.

In a nod to serendipity, I have had my eye on a recently released book on the Battle of Assietta 1747 set during the WAS.

Fortune smiled upon me in a browse through a small bookshop in Gettysburg.  There I found the book!  A few other books made the trip back to Washington State with me as well.  My travel-buddy ended up shipping a box of books back to his home.

I leave you with a sunset taken from the observation tower at Pitzer's Woods looking west at Gettysburg.

Monday, May 15, 2023

Piedmont Saluzzo Regiment

Another Piedmontese regiment musters out close on the heels of the previous regiment.  This time, Saluzzo Infantry Regiment presents itself for service.  Like Monferrato before, Saluzzo is yet to be presented with its flag.  One day.
Saluzzo's 23 figures are composed of Old Glory foot and a Eureka mounted colonel.  By my count, this is the fourth Piedmontese infantry regiment to join the ranks of the slowly growing Piedmontese contingent.  In work are grenadiers and guard.  These two will be followed up with a few batteries.  Progress!

On the cycling front, mileage week before last was good but weather dampened (literally) mileage.  Before a string of thunderstorms brought a fair amount of rain, I snapped the following photos of the Bowl and Pitcher rock formation straddling the river below.

On the gaming front, the table has been cleared of ECW armies.  Next up may see a return to ACW in 10mm.  First, I need a scenario.  Research begins.

Friday, May 12, 2023

On Tour

This week I am on tour. Where’s Jon?

Report upon my return.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Piedmont Monferrato Regiment

With weather improving and games-a-plenty, work at the painting desk slows.  Still, I manage to keep the brush engaged but not fully.

Off the painting desk today is the first of a number of SYW/WAS units being called to the colors.  Well, the colors have yet to arrive but you get the picture.  Today's offering contains 23 figures of the Piedmontese Monferrato Infantry Regiment.  Foot figures are Old Glory led by a Eureka Mounted colonel.

With warming temperatures, Spring Run-off kicks into a higher gear this week.  A torrent of water is passing through the Spokane Gorge and over the falls.  Stopping on the Blue Steel Bridge before I begin the ascent home is a nice break in the daily cycling routine.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Montgomery One More Time

After last week's game, consensus formed to give the Battle of Montgomery one more run-out on the table.  This Wednesday's game again saw three players with two Royalists and one Parliamentarian.  Two of the three players from the game before showed up for an encore performance.  Chris (Horse and Musket Gaming) and David (The Ragged Soldier) shared command of Byron's Royalist Army.  Mark (Mud, Blood, and Steel) commanded Meldrum's Parliamentarian Army.  Please visit the The Battle of Montgomery 1644 for the prior battle report and brief battle background.  Last week, the battle ended in an inclusive draw although there was discussion on both sides making good points to tip the outcome toward one army.  Still, a draw seemed a reasonable conclusion.  Would the result be similar this time out?

As a refresher, the two armies array for battle as shown in the photo below.  Meldrum is outnumbered but is expecting a cavalry foraging party to return at some point in battle.
Initial dispositions
Royalist Left
Royalist Right
Parliamentarian Left
Parliamentarian Right
On to battle!

Constricted by the hedges and enclosures, Byron sends his cavalry forward.  Not too far forward.  The Royalist horsemen advance into the open in preparation for action.  Fairfax brings his cavalry, deployed in front of Salt Bridge slightly forward so that he has room to maneuver.  Byron holds a four-to-three advantage in numbers.
Without hesitation, the two armies' cavalry strike in a series of charges and counter charges.  Could the battle be decided from the first blows?

Leading with the horse regiment on the left, Tyldesley attacks!  Fairfax counters!  In a ferocious clash of man and beast, Fairfax's rightmost regiment is driven back with Royalist cavalry in hot pursuit.  The chase brings the Cavaliers nearly to Salt Bridge, itself, as the enemy disintegrates.  Fairfax has a breach in his line.

Tyldesley's right regiment of horse charges forward too.  As before, Fairfax responds in counter charge.  This time, Tyldesley's horsemen suffer a reverse and are seen scurrying back to their lines.  Pausing to regroup, Fairfax is hit by a second wave of galloping Royalists.

Tyldesley's cavalry looks to be gaining the upper hand when catastrophe strikes.  Weakened from the heavy fighting, the Royalist horsemen have seen enough fighting and break for the rear.  Fairfax's horsemen follow, close on their hooves.  Over enclosures they ride trying to shake their pursuers.  With Tyldesley already engaged in pursuit near Salt Bridge, no general is close at hand to rally these Cavaliers.

In the initial clash of cavalry on the Royalist left, two Roundhead cavalry regiments are wrecked.  One Royalist horse regiment is wrecked while two other regiments head toward the rear to regroup. 
Cavalry clash!
Destruction and pursuit sees Fairfax's command in tatters.
Despite these successes, all is not going perfectly for Byron, however.

Having witnessed the destruction of friendly cavalry to its right and the route of escape under threat, Lothian's rightmost infantry regiment turns to bring Tyldesley's over-extended and pursuing cavalry under fire.

The Roundhead infantry wheels right and gives the horsemen a salvo.  Already exhausted from the fighting and pursuit, Tyldesley and his horsemen buckle and gallop away.  For Meldrum, disaster averted for now.  For Byron, disaster strikes!
Meldrum's infantry turns to give Royalist cavalry a blast.
Tyldesley breaks and gallops away.
Tyldesley looks on in disbelief.
The other two players enjoy the sight.
Tyldesley falls back to regroup.
With the opening cavalry actions seemingly settled, Byron orders his foot forward.  Woodhouse's two infantry regiments remain stationary on the heights while Broughton sends his brigade forward.  They cautiously descend the hill then swing about to confront enemy infantry to their front.

Seeing his right shredded in the cavalry duels and his escape over Salt Bridge in jeopardy, Meldrum shifts Lothian's infantry brigade east toward the bridge.  Where is Myddleton's cavalry?
Broughton's infantry descend the heights.
Woodhouse stands as a reserve.
Broughton swings about to bring enemy to bear.
Surveying the battlefield, Byron likes his chances holding an advantage of five foot regiments to three.  He pushes forward.  The first attacks concentrate on Lothian's infantry in the middle of the line.  After a couple of preparatory salvos, Broughton attacks.  In lengthy push of pike, Lothian's infantry breaks and scatters.  Now the Royalists hold a five to two advantage in infantry.  Is the battle over? 
Royalists bring their advantage in numbers to bear.
Lothian's middle infantry is dispatched.
Maybe not?

Meldrum sees the return of Myddleton's foraging party as the two cavalry regiments cross the enclosures.  The first regiment strikes Tyldesley's fleeing cavalry in flank and scatters it for good.  Tyldesley, himself, barely makes good his escape.  Now, it is the Royalist left that may be in trouble!
Myddleton returns and turns the Royalist Left.
Back to the plain below the heights, Broughton presses forward.  Perhaps showing overconfidence, Broughton's redcoats are repulsed in their first attack although the enemy is weakened.  Leading from the front, Broughton attacks with a second regiment.  This time, the Roundheads are scattered.  With two of his three infantry regiments destroyed, Lothian's remaining regiment heads back to the bridge.  Every man for himself! 
Broughton's first attack repulsed
but the second attack finishes the job!
Lothian scrambles over Salt Bridge.
While Lothian has a change of heart and brings his infantry back to the north side of the bridge and Myddleton's cavalry could present some interesting issues for the Byron and his Royalists as the left is turned, Meldrum concedes victory to Byron.  The Battle of Montgomery ends in a Royalist victory.

Thanks to the three combatants.  Congratulations to Chris and David.  Condolences to Mark.

Could the battle have been waged differently yielding a different outcome?  Perhaps.  Those discussions may be reserved for another time.

No matter the outcome, I thought the game great fun.  All three played well and fought hard.