Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ambler Gamers: Enter the British

The 28mm Peninsular British army I began last summer finally saw action in my Wednesday night game with the Ambler Gamers.  Our house rules continue to be polished, and last night's rumble provided many exciting moments.

I commanded the British left.  Don't let the peaceful village to my front fool you. The French right was strong. My goal was to keep them busy while Steve T. overpowered the French left.

Nosey sends off a Portuguese brigade. These troops wound up in the thick of  a ferocious firefight and lasted far longer than I had expected them to.

The British left. The Light Brigade tries to bolster the morale of some Spanish troops.  In the end, it would be the Spanish riding to the rescue of the British elites.

The British cavalry. Loaded on the right flank, they hoped to overpower the small French cavalry brigade they faced and then play havoc with the French infantry.

Looking down the French lines as Scott prepares his initial moves.

The view from the village. One French brigade is still out of sight to the right. You can see why the troops on my left were twitchy.  The troops on the far right of thus shot are Joe's "minor German states" by Perry. Very nice. 

Steve P. does not seem overly concerned that the energetic British cavalry charge on the first turn.  Poor dice rolling made this fight less uneven than we had hoped.

And the French turn the tables. Scott gets a good command roll for his cavalry in the center, and my poor limbered artillery gets caught without a prayer.

My plucky left flank prepares to face the onslaught. Note Scott's sneaky attack columns creeping around the woods to the left.

My lead battalion formed an emergency square to limit the damage of the cavalry charge. Unfortunately, the cavalry was able to sweep around it into the rest of the brigade.  These Highlanders will not last much longer.

Though Steve P.'s cavalry preformed heroically, Steve T. was able to cut short their efforts by bringing up the Light Brigade and blasting the survivors.

In the center, it looks like I might be able to do some damage if I can maneuver my troops into position.

As always, Joe served as our host and referee.  Here, he's giving Steve T. the sad news that a light infantry battalion just took fire in their rear.

The Portuguese get into action.  Though they take a pounding and eventually have to retire, they deal out their share of damage.

I was helped by some poor command rolls on Scott's part, and it took him a while to assemble a co-ordinated attack. One he was in position, though, there was little I could do to stop him.

I missed an opportunity on the previous turn, but I got a second chance to advance against the attack columns. My fire was not too effective, though, and the disciplined French were able to deploy into line in order to initiate a firefight.  All things being equal, i might have won the day, bur note the cranky Germans creeping up in the upper right.

On come the French!

One of my center brigades provided support to the left and could not provide the decisive blow in the center that I had hoped for.

Steve P. wonders how the Spanish were able to be the last men standing on the English right.  Their triumph was short-lived however, as the battered English brigades in the center and on the left began to fall back, conceding the field to the French.

Rumble in the Arctic

On the second turn, the ships moved into medium range of the big guns of the cruisers, and the hurting started.  The IJN task force broke off from their freighters to intercept the Americans, racing in to a range where their weapons could do more damage.

Destroyers are hard to hit, but all it takes is a single lucky 8" shell to do some serious damage.  The Americans and Japanese each lost two destroyers before the smaller ships could close within torpedo range.  The Abukama, one of the Japanese light cruisers, took two hard hits. As fate would have it, each hit started a fire which ignited ammunition on deck. The Abukama exploded in a spectacular pyrotechnic display with the loss of all hands.

Right now the American cruisers are looking tough, having shrugged off superficial hits from Japanese shells. However, the heavy losses sustained by the American destroyers may make a clear victory unattainable.

The Japanese were taking a beating, but once they moved into torpedo range, the score was evened.  One poor American destroyer took two torpedoes and probably approached near orbit.  The second Japanese light cruiser took a hard salvo from the Salt Lake City and went down. While it's no surprise that destroyers could not last long against shells from capital ships or torpedo hits, I had expected the light cruisers to stock around longer.  Naval Thunder proved to be a much faster system than I had anticipated.

With half of their vessels out of action, the Americans were unable to secure a victory, but they could earn a draw by taking out the cargo ships.  Ifgoring the remaining Japanese vessels for a round, they turned their attention to the supply ships. The lumbering vessels got hit hard and went below the icy waves.  That meant that both sides failed to meet their victory conditions. The only thing left to do was to blast the remaining ships to oblivion, though my students agreed that any sane commander on either side would have withdrawn three turns into the game.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Next game ahoy!

After what seems like many weeks (because it was, well, many weeks), my sim games class finally finished our Napoleonics battle.  Though on paper it might look like a British walkover (thee routed French brigades to none), it was a lot closer than the results would indicate, as three British brigades were pretty wobbly themselves at the finish. Two better rolls on some French break tests, and teh game could have easily gone the other way.

Anyhow, I don't have any photos of that, so you will have to rely upon my lurid prose to compose a thought-picture of your own. At any rate, there was not a lot of maneuver in the final turns, just a lot of slugging it out and hoping for the best.  We wrapped the game up and started on our next simulation: WWII naval, with an adaptation of the Battle of the Komandorski Islands as our scenario.

I cut linoleum tiles to base the ships, texturing the base with putty, then adding paint and gloss varnish to make it look like water.

We're gaming at 1/2400 using the Naval Thunder rules and Panzerschiffe miniatures.  While Panzerschiffe resin models lack the spectacular detail of the GHQ or Navwar ships, the price is right and they work well as game pieces.  The students seemed to think they looked good!

I rely upon our Middle School Art Department for construction paper from rolls. Sadly they were out of blue, so I had to make do with green. I then added blobs of blue poster paint to give an "ocean effect".  Doesn't look great, but at least it doesn't look terrible.  Had I some white paint in school, I would have added a few whitecaps for detail.

I made my own splash markers out of golf tees, mounted on pennies and given some drybrush to give the impression of spray.

My students were shocked at the complexity of the rules relative to Black Powder, and since this is my first toe in the water with these rules, we're taking it slow.  On our first turn, the Japanese and American cruisers traded some long range shots.  All of the IJN salvos fell short, but two American shells scored lucky hits, and one IJN destroyer suffered damage to its engine room.

Waves (or in this case, the seam where my two "ocean boards" meet) crash over the bow of an American light cruiser.