Saturday, June 30, 2012

28mm KOREAN WAR 1951

This weeks game at the SESWC was a 28mm Korean War game. Yes another game out of the period covered by the title of my blog. All the figures for this game were supplied by Colin Jack who also developed the scenario.

Chinese infantry cross open ground to the base of the hill
I commanded a reinforced squad of  elite US paratroops holding an isolated defensive position on the top of a large hill. A column of US mechanised troops was moving up the main road to relieve my force.

Paras in close combat with attacking Chinese
Waves of Chinese infantry commanded by Colin attacked my position. There were two notable things of my defence. First was the truly appalling rifle fire of my infantry scoring only 7 hits from 40 shots. Second my infantry proved great in hand to combat - the highlight was 3 Chinese units being fought of by a single machine gun crew.

T34 waiting in ambush - a Corgi model
The relief column made very slow progress only advancing about 2 ft before coming to a halt  as the first M3 halftrack was destroyed by a hidden T34. The US Shermans replied hitting the T34 without penetrating but caused its crew to bail out who then fled in the next turn.

M3 halftrack explodes - only 4 infantry survived
We used Rules of Engagement for this game.

Friday, June 22, 2012


This week we had arranged our  Hail Caesar Greek, Macedonian and Persian extravaganza.  Donald Adamson came up with the scenario, orders of battle and umpired whilst  Hugh Wilson  provided the venue and terrain.  Suzanne Wilson provided the welcome refreshments.

We used figures from the collections of Donald Adamson  and Dave O’Brien.  Dave provided the hoplites, Donald the Macedonian pike blocks and shared the cavalry Skirmishers and Persians.   The alluring temple maidens were definitely Dave's!  Angus Konstam, Martin Gibson and Colin Jack  played the Greco-Macedonian commanders whilst I was the General of the Persian Army with Dave O’Brien and Hugh Wilson in command of the Greek mercenaries.

The figures were all based on Impetus bases or else were put onto Impetus sized sabot bases.  As in our last game we decided that a 12cm wide Impetus base was a standard sized Hail Caesar unit.  The skirmishers were classed as small units.
Persian central divison...
Here is my briefing as General of the Persian Army.

The Temple of the Golden Virgin…..
Being an introductory Hail Caesar! scenario for six gentlemen set on the Aegean coast of Asia Minor, immediately prior to Alexander’s invasion.

General Briefing
The Macedonians have landed a force on the coast which is intended to seize the temple complex of the Golden Virgin which is just inland of the landing site. There are three passes from the coast to the temple, and the three Macedonian divisions manoeuvre to take these passes. Equally, there are three Persian divisions defending these passes. However, Greek mercenaries from Corinth, Athens and Sparta form a sizeable proportion of each force, and in moments of financial stringency at home, the Greeks may not be entirely trustworthy?

The Golden Virgin has great religious significance for the Aegean Greeks, and they are more than aware of the legend that when a barbarian from north of Greece makes love to her, then the Persian Empire shall fall. For this reason, there is a strong temple guard of Persians, plus the King of Kings is marching to save the Virgin. The Macedonian raiders have one day only to achieve their mission.

One of the Macedonian divisions
Player Briefing
Barius – Commander of the Persians and General of the central division.
Your task is to hold the barbarians away from the sacred temple complex. You have two units of temple guards (sparabara) plus a central division. If the Macedonians have not reached the complex by night-fall, then messengers tell you that the advance guards of the Great Army will be with you by morning. The central division has four units of bow-armed sparabara, four units of Persian medium cavalry, and one unit of skirmishers.
You also have a sizeable treasury and have offered a massive bribe to Trionidas of Sparta, who you know has little love for the Macedonians. As the day starts you do not know if the bribe has been accepted.

Companions charge sparabara...
How the game played
My bribe to Trionidas of Sparta (Angus) failed whilst the Macedonians successfully bribed by left flank Corinthian Division (Dave) to change sides.  Luckily Angus in his second move blundered with his cavalry and rolled 6 - a maximum charge.  Donald ruled that this meant he charged the Corinthian skirmishers who had just changed to his side.  This unfriendly action gave Angus no option but to accept my bribe and join me.

The battle was notable for the poor performance of my General who rolled double 6 and blundered and with his reroll blundered again!  My 4 units of Persian cavalry took on Daves  2 units of equivalent Corinthian cavalry and in the first round 3 of my units broke!  Whilst this disaster was unfolding my general had joined my sparabara in resisting an optimistic charge by the Macedonian companions and he was promptly cut down and slain.
Phalanx closes on Persian battleline....those are very long pikes
The Macedonian Phalanx charged my sparabara and after a heroic struggle broke all but one unit - these heroes were forced to give ground repeatedly and were pushed of the table shaken.  On the flanks the left flank Macedonian division (Colin) was held of by Hughs Athenian mercenary hoplites whilst on the other flank the Spartan and Corinthian hoplite phalanxes fought themselves to a standstill with both units in one drawn melee breaking and fleeing.  However any partial successes on the flanks were more than outweighed by the crushing of my division.

We were impressed again by the rules -  this was the first time that Angus, Colin or Dave had tried them - so our next big game in 2 weeks is going to be a follow-up Greek, Macedonian and Persian game.  So will the Great King arrive the next day?
Priestesses of the temple await the coming of the Macedonians...
More photos and descriptions at

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This week I arranged 2 big games which were tests for us of Hail Caesar from Warlord games. They were both versions of a fictional 28mm War of the Roses action - the Battle of Corbridge 1461.

Having been reading Hail Caesar for ideas to use in our BP games I decided that we should try a game of Hail Caesar. It is quite some time since I played an Ancient or Medieval game. A couple of my friends were keen to try out recently acquired WOTR armies. Given everyone could not get there on the same day I decided that we would have a game on Sunday and Tuesday. I provided the venue, terrain and orders of battle. We used figures from the collections of Donald Adamson, Martin Gibney, Dave Imrie and Dave O’Brien. Everyone brought refreshments…..

Retinues charge archer line supported by retinue...
The Setup and Gaming Experience
The basic scenario was that a battle of Lancastrians following their defeat at Towton retreated north and made a stand at Corbridge . In both battles the Lancastrians were reinforced by the Northumbrian shire levies. They were pursued north by 2 Yorkist battles. In the first game we played both sides were reinforced by a small battle. The Lancastrians by Scottish Interventionists and the Yorkists by Burgundian Mercenaries. In the second game the reinforcements were omitted as some had to march to a wargames show this weekend.

Game 2 - Lancastrian main battle advances

Game 2  - Lancastrians advance from hill to face flanking enemy
 The figures were all based for Impetus or else I put them onto Impetus sized templates. We decided that a 12cm wide Impetus base was a standard Hail Caesar unit.

A brief OB is given below. The basic troop types in each army were retinues (nobles and high quality billmen), billmen and bowmen. The troop ratings I adapted from a WOTR troop list found on the Hail Caesar forum. We used few special rules - retinues were Valiant, levies were Militia and Levy 2+, Scots spearmen were Spear Phalanxes and billmen had double handed weapons. Each battle was a Hail Caesar division. The commanders were all rated as 8s.

Both games proved to be enjoyable and I think everyone came away impressed with the rules. Since only 2 of the 9 players involved in the 2 games had played Hail Caesar once before there were things we got wrong. Mostly because we were thinking that the rules are the same as Black Powder which they are not. The main differences are in melees were support works completely differently and in the break tests. I like the close combat as fighting units and their supports get steadily exhausted as excess hits are not simply discarded as in BP but are passed onto any supporting units. The concept of losers giving ground in melee also works well.

Scots spears from Dave Imries Claymore Figures charge a retinue
We were impressed enough by the rules that our big game next week is going to be a Greek, Macedonian and Persian extravaganza.

Here are links to more photos with descriptions on flickr

This is the OB that we used for the first game. As I said for the second game I omitted the Burgundian Mercenaries and Scots Interventionists.



Friday, June 8, 2012


This weeks big game was held on Tuesday. It was a 28mm game based roughly on the Battle of Tarutino, 16 October, 1812 played using Black Powder Rules.

Organising the game
The game was fought at my house on a 12ft by 6ft table. I provided the scenario and the figures. There were 5 players and I umpired. Hugh Wilson, and Donald Adamson were the French players. Dave Paterson, Mark Taylor and Scott Duncan were the Russian players. I have added a Tarutino 1812 page which gives more complete information on the game set-up, terrain map, rules used, the player briefings and order of battle.  Most of the infantry are by Rava, the cavalry and Russian artillery by Foundry, French artillery by Sash and Sabre and there are also some Frontrank, Steve Barber and Frontrank figures.

Jaegers emerge from the forest....

Link to Flickr photoset of the game with further descriptions

I based the OB on the troops I had available taking into account to some extent the proportions at the actual battle with the Russians having 2 more brigades and more artillery. The French army deployed with 3 infantry and 3 cavalry brigades on the table with the heavy cavalry brigade in reserve of table.
The Russians deployed in 3 columns to march onto the table with the Jaeger brigade and the Hussar brigade on the right, an infantry brigade, grenadier brigade with the Dragoon brigade in the centre and their other infantry brigade, mixed cavalry brigade and Cosssack brigade on the left flank. They also had a Cuirassier brigade held back as a reserve to be committed by the umpire.
The French plan was to hold defensively effectively on their initial deployment. The Russian plan was to break the French centre and outflank with their more numerous cavalry on their left.

Russian attack in the centre - held by the Foreign brigade

How the game played
On the Russian left their advance was held up the dense terrain and they took most of the game to advance beyond the stream. The initial infantry to cross the steam were forced into square by the Bavarian light cavalry brigade. Eventually after repeated command failures the Cossacks crossed the stream and charged the Bavarians who drove them back of the table shaken.
In the centre the Russian line and grenadier brigades were held in check throughout the game by the foreign brigade. Each side losing a battalion. The exciting action here was by the cavalry. The Russian dragoons drove back the French hussars and were then in turn broken by the French dragoons who in their moment of victory broke and fled the field. The French called their reserve cavalry brigade of lancers and cuirassiers onto the field and the umpire allowed the Russian cuirassier brigade to deploy. The lancers charged the leading cuirassiers under initiative who counter charged and but were then hit in the flank by the French Hussars who had recovered from their earlier defeat. The brave hussars were left masters of the field as under attack from 2 sides the Cuirassiers broke and the Lancers retired disordered.
On the Russian right the jaeger brigade engaged and after a long struggle broke 3 of 4 battalions of the French left flank infantry. They were helped in this by the Hussar brigade who holding the French chasseurs at bay with 1 regiment got the other behind the French line. The highlight for the French was when one of their battalions held of a charging Russian column in front whilst charged in the rear by the hussars. Then charged again in flank and rear by the Russians they eventually broke.

Russian cuirssiers in a bad place....

It was agreed at the end of the game that it was tactically a draw with the Russians losing 4 infantry/cavalry units to the French loss of 5. However the French armies direct line of retreat to Moscow had been cut by the Russian success on their right where they had cut the highway.

French heroes break to 2nd Russian attack
Some Ideas
One lesson if we play this scenario again. I reduced the French command rating to 6 in the first 3 turns to simulate the confusion caused by the unexpected appearance of the Russian army. This did not have enough effect so I think next time I would reduce it to 5.
I am thinking of giving the Russian infantry a version of the Valiant useful rule rather than Steady. There is no risk of failure in the first break test with Steady which I think makes it to powerful a useful rule with units surviving in quite impossible situations. Extreme example - infantry charged in flank and rear by cavalry and standing in 1st round and then turning around! Some uncertainty is required.
The standard version of Valiant allows a unit to reroll its first failed break test - that is also a very powerful advantage. I think in future I will use a version of Valiant but amended so that the unit can only reroll the first break test it makes rather than reroll its first failed break test. A good name for this would be Stoic seems appropriate for Russians.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


As I said in my last blog this week I took my Oriskany 1777 game to Wappinshaw, the Glasgow Wagames, show representing my club the SESWC.  The show is now held in the exhibition hall of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall which is a fine venue absolutely in the city centre.  Thanks to everyone who spoke to us about the display - we had lots of interest.  Most questions were about our Teddy bear fur - faux fur - terrain mat - I am sure textile shops in Scotland will be busy this week.

This time with the aid of Donald Adamson we managed to present the display and play it as a game slowly over the day.  We must have played 12 moves and it was a hard fight with each side only losing1 unit in that time.  Probably the least bloody game of Black Powder ever! Outstanding features were the appalling command rolls - 6 blunders were thrown - and amazing saving throws from hits.  The order of battle is as per the refight of the game at Albanich 2012 except that this time I gave the Patriots a light gun which never go into position to fire during the battle.

More photos of the Oriskany game and the show at flickR

Fort Stanwix under siege....3rd New York the defenders

Display - note militia columns coming on table

Besiegers open fire

Loyalist indians in action...Gen Herkimer looks on

Big SYW Kunersdorf game using Piquet

1st Crusade - using Impetus