Sunday, 14 January 2018

TMWWBK: Interwar KAR vs FFL

1927 - January 12.  Khartoum.

My lord,

It is my duty to inform you that there has been an incursion into Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by French forces.  Rogue elements of the French Foreign Legion, apparently seeking the lost city of Hamunaptra, were intercepted by a battalion of the King's African Rifles near the frontier.

Our forces caught up to the French near the village of El-Nowhere-a.

Legionnaires deploying

King's African Rifles, led by a "hero of the empire" form skirmish line.  Just after this photo, they took fire from the Legion, and the officer determined the importance of reporting back immediately to British command in Khartoum.  He decided he needed to carry the new himself, and he needed his company as an escort in case there were any other French troops around...  (despite having a terrific leadership of 4+, he failed the pin test from the fire, then failed again on the rally and the whole company dispersed...).

Remaining elements of the KAR advance toward the village.

One of the KAR companies occupies the village market.

FFL advance.

FFL Hotchkiss machine gun team deploys

Legion company with reduced numbers and pin marker after being on the receiving end of KAR rifle fire.

KAR company, led by their jolly sporting officer, moves out past the two tents.

Last KAR company, led by an officer with a fine moustache, finally comes down from the hill from which they'd been observing the battle.  (Incidentally, British Jim himself has a very fine moustache!)

The first game ended quickly, in about an hour.  Each side had a 24-point field force.  Doug brought the Foreign Legion, two companies of elite, sharpshooting regular infantry plus a machine gun. I brought four companies of regulars (there were a few Lewis guns mixed in with the KAR troops, which we ruled would count as rifles - easier than making up rules for LMGs on the fly!).  We had two players ask to join in the game, both called Jim.  We figured the easiest solution was to call them French Jim and British Jim.

As the game ended nice and early, we decided to have another go.  For the second game, we did away with the officer characteristics, and simply gave each unit a leadership of 6+.  In the first game, the FFL had the misfortune of rolling for some rather desperate ratings, including an absolute liability with a leadership of 10+, while the KAR scored nicely with a jolly sporting leader (+2" on movement), a hero of the empire (leadership 4+) and a highly motivated leader who was allowed one free action and a chance to test for a second action.  

For the second game, we deployed on the long edges (vs the short edges for the first game) - this had the advantage of getting us into the action sooner!

The FFL MG team, with their determined-looking commander.  He would later make a deployment error that would cost him dearly...

KAR company with a pin marker.  They were pinned and forced to fall back, but managed to stay on the table, and recover in time to destroy the Legion MG team!

Shooting was definitely in the favour of the KAR.  They hit on 5+ compared to 4+ for the FFL, but had more rifles and thus more dice to roll.

Doug thought that these troops were going to go around the hill, but instead they climbed up on top and were able to pour some rifle fire down onto his FFL, thus making up for running away in the first encounter!

In the end, the KAR again won the day.  Some observations:

  • Regulars are pretty darn good, so paying extra to upgrade them runs into a problem of diminishing returns.  For 6 points, I got a dozen rifles.  Doug paid 9 points for a dozen rifles with improved discipline and shooting.  Over the 24-pt force, however, I had 48 rifles, to Doug's 12 plus an MG.  
  • Discipline bonus is really helpful.  There were many pinning or rally tests that would have failed if not for the +1 or +2 bonus for discipline (even the KAR troops that broke and ran in the first game should have stayed, if I'd taken advantage of my discipline bonus).
  • Machine guns are worth taking only if you like the model.  I'll admit, it's fun to put a Gatling gun or similar model on the table, each is like a mini-vignette!  But all you really get is the same firepower as a unit of regular rifles, with less flexibility (limited arc of fire), slower movement rate, no automatic fire (ironic, isn't it! I mean you need to test to see if you can take a fire action, unlike regular infantry), and more delicate (each hit costs three attack dice).
Still, TMWWBK is my favourite ruleset for now.  It even has little quirks to make it better (in my mind) than the other Dragon Rampant sets! 

Doug's write up of the event from the French perspective is here.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Russian Dragoon

Not much to boast about here.  The only exciting thing is that I finally picked up a paintbrush - first time since August!  This is a Russian Dragoon of the army of Peter the Great, from Ebor Miniatures.  Hopefully, I'll get a chance to paint his 23 friends as well:  this is meant to be the start of a Russian army suitable for 'The Pikeman's Lament'.  

He's a bit fuzzy - that's likely due to me priming him outside in the cold.  Whoops!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Dragon Rampant

I finally made it out to Bonsor for another Trumpeter Club Night.  Hooked up with Doug, Peter and Jim for a game of Dragon Rampant - which was really just an excuse to pull some old models out for a bit of fun.  Jim brought his lizard men, Doug had a whole bevy of men at arms (both foot and mounted), and I brought two retinues:  El Cid era Spanish (which Peter took) and my old Ral Partha orcs.

Last month, we met up a Doug's house for some Lion Rampant fun (Doug's write up is here ). One of the primary reactions to that game was the frustration we had with the rule that ended a turn after the first failed activation.  We had many turns that never even started as the first unit failed the activation, so as a house rule we decided that each unit could test for activation every turn.  As it turned out, there were still lots of units that spent most of the game idle as they failed almost every activation test!  

What follows is a few random shots from the game.  No particular story here:  everyone came together for a big bash in the middle.  Theoretically we were trying to capture the war machine, but it was largely ignored for most of the game. In the end, Doug and I were crushed by the lizardman/Spaniard alliance.

Here we see the Spanish king prepare to charge Doug's knights.  Or possibly vice-versa.  Didn't matter much as the heavy cavalry were pretty good at counter-charging!

My orcs and Jim's lizardfolk spent much of the game tussling over this piece of wall.

Here is the orc chieftain rushing to take the war machine.  (spoiler alert:  they didn't succeed).

And here are the so-called 'fierce foot' just before they ran away...

Action on the flank - the last of Doug's knights being stymied by the lizardmen.

Throughout the evening, my dice rolling was abysmal.  This is fairly typical of my rolling:  the two sixes were nice to see, but there were always far too many ones and twos!  

Case in point:  At one point, I had three battered units.  I needed to test for each to rally.  I rolled a pair of ones for the first roll, then snake eyes again for the second, then the third roll was a three (a two and a one). Had I failed a rally by a small amount, the unit would fall back and take another casualty, but for a low roll the unit would disintegrate - so I lost three units right there!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Well, that's very Hansom...

I have no particular justification for purchasing and painting this model, except that I wanted it. I had a vague idea of changing the driver into an Indian, so I could put this cab on my NWF gaming table, but that was going to be too much bother for a piece that is basically just eye candy.

So here it is in all its glory, the Hansom cab from Eureka:

Saturday, 1 July 2017

More for Afghanistan and the NWF

I think I've got enough background character models for my Afghan table, but when I see something new on the Eureka website, I just can't resist.  So here are some more mules!  The mule with the fuel jerry cans is pretty much limited to modern settings but the other two can easily be cross-purposed to the 19th Century or earlier.

The set includes the two muleteers in the background: an old bloke and a kid.

But of course I can't just order one thing from Eureka, so i also got the ox cart from the Vietnam line.  After looking at photos of ox carts from India, I decided to add a bit of colour.  Still need to find a driver for the cart, as the lovely Vietnamese lady that comes with the set would be a bit out of place in Kabul.  Maybe with a bit of putty her clothes can be transformed to fit South Asia instead of Vietnam.

The cart comes with a resin model of a load of straw. I decided to paint it separately but then found out that I couldn't fit it on the cart!  It looks like it's levitating.  Maybe it will be used for smuggling...

I also found time to finish up these cheery blokes from Artizan Designs, who look ready to become Kings.  Kings in Kafiristan!  I wonder how they are going to get along?

And of course a District Commissionaire to keep an eye on them as he enjoys a cuppa.

 These casualties and medics have been waiting patiently for quite a while, but I finally have them finished.  

The medic comes with an AK, but since I wanted an unarmed medic I did my best to scrape the gun off of the one on the right.  The unarmed medic is intended to make players question their actions:  can they shoot someone who is just providing medical assistance?  

And of course they have Red Crescent badges on their medic bags!