Friday, July 29, 2016

Dragon Rampant: The Bloody Cross Roads

I got together with Frank, Mike Dave and Dave's two sons last night We set up this cross roads tavern table with terrain that Mike made. 
 The scarecrow with a vulture of it is an especially nice touch.   We had a agreed to a 45 point game I took Mike as a sub commander while Frank had Dave's son Will as his sub commander.  We used standard Dragon Rampant rules but each player could move his formations until he failed his command check so that you wouldn't miss a turn because your partner made a bad throw. 
 I had the Green and white army with its barbarian allies.
 Frank and Will had Frank's Kroot  based army
 Will started the Kroot moving on our right opposite me.
  Mike had better activation dice as our barbarians crossed the stream to delay the Kroot war beasts moving to turn our flank.
 Only my elite infantry moved up Mike got a unit of heave horse and heavy foot moving toward the cross roads in support.  The rest of the army must be finishing breakfast or something.
 Franks War beasts charge and the heavy hose counter charge
 The fight is a draw with both sides falling back battered, both sides lost two men.
 Another unit of War Beasts charges my elite purple cloaked infantry...
 They a cut down by half and must fall back.
 by the 3rd turn I we have started to establish our line.  Frank is effectively using magic to slow us down...
 On the left our light horse fall back and just barely manged avoid hand to hand combat with the War Beasts
 The Men of the White Willow clash with another unit of War Beasts and drive them back.
 Frank's winged Kroot leader(using the heavy horse) drives back my elite infantry but a counter attack by the army leader (elite horse) drives him back.
 The White Willows engage Frank's light riders (with wizardlings)
 After a flanking march that seam like it took ages my second unit of Heavy riders is at last in position and drives into to Will's Bellicose foot.  These guys are deadly in attack but are poor defenders.
 We finally have them our flank attack working...
 A second attack the following turn drives into the footmen who failed their wild charge attempt
 We also get in hits on the heavy missile troops who have been doing us much annoying damage
 Frank's War bast try to break the White Willows but are driven off... The Bellicose foot breaks when it tries to rally..
Leaving my heavy foot to break the heavy missile troops.  Frank had gotten a War beast unit over on the left after breaking our light riders (though they got in a few good hits first) but we have two units of heavy infantry on the cross roads and a unit of bellicose foot and two horse units to support them.  Frank has two badly battered units left and opts to withdraw leaving the Green and White army to hold the field.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

En Garde: Review

I have two games I'm now so I feel I can make a few comments by way of a review.  Skirmish games seem to be the rage right now and this game is of that type.  In this game you pit two(or more) swashbuckling era war bands against each other.  The game officially calls it self a renaissance era game but I feel these rules are valid for skirmish games through the at least the American Revolution (you'll have to write some rules for rifles).
 I certainly plan of doing some F&I Skirmishing with them.  The game has four phases Priority (which is a high level initiative). Move Phase where figures move shoot and perform other actions that are not related to hand to hand combat.  Combat Phase were the meat of the game is and an end phase to deal with recovery from being stunned, moral and so forth.  Starting with the player with priority you proceed through the phases each player taking an action for each of his or her figures.  Its I go you go but only one figure goes at a time which comes about as close to simultaneous movement as I can imagine.  The mechanics are very smooth and easy to follow.
Lets talk combat because that were this game really shines.  Each figure has a combat pool a number between 1 and 6.  This determines how many attack/defense counters you get  each player must then decide how to allocate his counter. Attacking requires an attack counter, you attack rolling 2d6 and adding your fight (a number between 1 and 5).  You can enhance you attack by spending another counter to employ a ploy (for example Mighty blow which lets you roll an extra d6 and pick the best two).  You can defend for free but you only get to roll 1d6 and add you fight if you do. You can spend a counter to employ a defensive ploy parry is the most common defensive ploy letting you roll 2d6 for your defense  helping you block an attack.  Combat continues until one figure or the other is killed or both are out of counter. In the case of multiple combats the player with priority get to decide the order in which each will occur but then initiative is determined separately between the two figures(1d6 + their initiative score + any modifier for their weapon).  Its actually simpler than it sounds once you've done it a few time.
Fire arms have not been neglected and they seem to be done fairly well. Pistols can be used both at range and in hand to hand combat.  Muskets, Matchlocks, Blunderbusses, crossbows and bows all have a stats as do some thrown weapons.  Missile fire is deadly and the rules prohibit war bands form having more than 50% of their troops armed with long range missile weapons.  For a game that is supposed to be about hand to hand combat missile fire has dominated our two games.
This was especially true in our first one where I used line formation and volley fire take down isolated opponents (and I was using less accurate matchlocks).  Archers are even more dangerous as they can fire twice in turn (all black powder weapons can fire one every other turn).  Heavy terrain will help mitigate this and so might lowering the number of figures with long range weapons.(We've suggest 25 or 30%).
 The rules are not strictly historical, there are rules for spell casting magicians and other fantastical figures. So its quite possible to do a pirate/horror cross over like Pirates of the Caribbean.  The game might also work well with 17th centenary vampire hunter or similar themed game.  We've talked about "Frost garde" taking the magic of Frostgrave and meshing it with the combat system of En Garde (which places a greater emphasis of the fighting skill of the figure).
The author Craig Woodfield has another rule set under his belt called Ronin and I have never played it but always heard good things.  I'm given to understand that the two rules are broadly compatible meaning some east meets west games are possible.   The book includes a number of sample war bands and rules for building your own from scratch as well as a number of suggestion for further reading and viewing for inspiration.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Battle of Albuera (2) GB& the Chain of Command (Play Test Version 2.6)

John and I again met at Hobby Bunker once again the battle was Albuera with me taking the French... 
and John taking the Anglo Spanish forces. We also had a new version of the rules to try out with major changes to the command & control aspects(which I dislike in the main thought that could be unfamiliarity) and Movement (which I liked in the main, but need a couple of tweaks) 
All troops now get full movement, and you can you get extra movement when doing a "guiding battalion movement."
This makes it reasonable to maneuver though woods, which were all but impassible before.
John opened the game with artillery and a very cheeky move by his cavalry threatening my advance
I form square this was a mistake my men fought off the cavalry with some good shooting but by the time that was accomplished the enemy infantry had moved up and I couldn't get out of square with the new movement rules (you need to sacrifice 1d6 of your movement to change formation but a square within 12" of the enemy has 0d6 movement)
My fist charge came up short and artillery hit on cavalry hard. Another unit was driven back after cutting up a Spanish square (though the melee was draw)
the next turn John drove off another cavalry charge (partly thanks to an interupt) worse the retreat broke a second force of cavalry. 
John Charge my unit on the edge of the woods using a Huzzah! special activation.. and breaks the unit with fire followed by a bloody bayonet charge. 
A second charge is a bit better for me a draw
Resulting in a fire fight. 
With John's cavalry in retreat I move up two battalions sutck in square are bypassed but I'm not gettig good command dice limiting my options...
I lost a Colonel and another infantry battalion only lucky dice keeps my moral form crumbing (it should be crumbling).  I do manage a counter attack of my own.. 
Breaking one of Johns units...
He brings up more men and another charge drives them back but its too little too late. John won a resounding British victory having blunted my attack.  My moral is still in good shape but that's only because of luck.

Friday, July 15, 2016

En Garde! game Two.

After our first go at the game of En Garde! we decided to try it again.  We basically put a bunch of treasure tokens down like Frostgrave to give us an objective.  I had a French army list (with Frank running the three soldiers on the left).
Mike had an "elite" pirate list (a list with all troops over rank 3) that I built.  I didn't give this list enough long range fire power and with two slow figures (peg legs) its at a significant disadvantage.
Dave had his list of Puritans and praying Indians.
My forces move into the center two musketeers taking firing position behind the wall to cover the rest of the force.
Mike has his two scouts up front, the blond sharpshooters and
the Gypsy pirate with her two pistols, team slow poke the two peg-leg pirates in the back ground
Frank grabs our first treasure token
My troops advance on the center area were the majority of tokens are.
Mike and I have a bit of a "Mexican stand off"
and neither of us want to be the first to go around the walls and face the others fire.
I get a man in firing position and hope that I win initiative.
Dave Kills one of Franks Musketeers
Two of Mike's soldiers are visible and I win imitative and open fire, Hitting the pirate lass
My officer takes another shot at her...
and down goes the first pirate.
Another shot and another of the scurvy dogs is down.
Mike takes a shot and down goes my second in command.
Frank takes out one of Dave's soldiers getting a little revenge.
In advances the gypsy scout
and lead fills the air as troops close on each other.
I kill the large pirate in hand to hand combat and the Gypsy runs looking for cover to reload her pistol.
She doges shots but is killed in hand to hand..
Franks lone musketeer is holding off Dave's forces on the left
but Dave has suck some men around while mike and I fight it out and grab treasure
the Blunderbuss kills of my men and wounds my commander
My wounded musketeer hits the pirate with the blunderbuss..
then my men rush the peg-leg pirates.
Long range fire exchanged on the left
Mike kills my commander but Frank and my swordsmen kill the blunderbuss pirate
The battle continues and the pirate commander goes down
Then the last pirate goes down and we call the game.  The Frostgrave style game didn't quite work the way we wanted. This game like Frostgrave needs a smaller table.  That said I like the system the hand to hand combat system is the center of the game and less complicated then it looks at first.