Friday 30 December 2022

The Wars of the Roses: Bosworth Project begins

The 13th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge started last week and I have started my 6mm Wars of the Roses / Bosworth project. Due to some shenanigans with a delayed parcel delivery I wasn't able to start with Henry Tudor as planned. Instead, I picked a couple of his supporters and their troops. 

Sir Rhys ap Thomas and Sir John Wells 

I have been thinking about this project pretty much since the end of the last Challenge in March, and hopefully, the planning and considerable preparation will pay off over the next three months. There is a huge amount to do and in all honesty, I don’t think I will get everything finished by Challenge end. These first few units have taken a lot longer to complete than I thought. However, If I can get at least half the project finished, I will be happy (and hit my personal points target).

I’m planning on using the Test of Resolve rules for this period so each ‘company’ consists of two bases presented in-line for deep units like billmen, or abrest for wide units like archers. So here we have a unit of Retinue Billmen and a unit of Archers for each nobleman. I have compiled a detailed order of battle for the Lancastrians and Yorkists at Bosworth and when I have finished I will have 38 Noblemen represented on the table with over 125 individual bases of troops…each with their own flag! I decided early on that I was going to use fewer figures on each base to allow for better base dressing with turf and grass etc but to compensate I would have a flag on every base. I may come to regret this decision because that's a lot of extra work…but I think the end result will look awesome and I can’t wait to see it all completed and arrayed on the tabletop.

So today I present the troops of Sir Rhys ap Thomas and Sir John Wells who fought on the Lancastrian side at Bosworth. The former was a Welsh lord who committed his troops to Henry’s cause, but only after the latter had marched nearly all the way through Wales. Maybe he was sizing up the young Tudor and trying to make up his mind? It's claimed that Rhys ap Thomas dealt the fatal blow that killed Richard III but didn't want to take credit for it because he didn't want to be known as a regicide. This claim is hotly debated and given the paucity of reliable evidence I take it with a pinch of salt. Chalk it down as a possibility rather than a probability. 

That's enough of me waffling on, I need to get back to my paint desk. I have 117 more bases of troops and flags to be getting on with!

Sunday 18 December 2022

The Painting Challenge and The Wars of the Roses

The Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge XIII starts in a few days and once again I am using this time to get the bulk of my painting done on a new project. This year I am doing The Wars of the Roses in 6mm, but more specifically focusing on The Battle of Bosworth. In this video, I discuss some of the preparation I have undertaken before even lifting a brush. 

Sunday 11 December 2022

Getting Motivated

Real life has a habit of getting in the way of our hobbies, so when we do have time, why do we procrastinate? This week's video discusses my simple strategy for overcoming life's inertia and getting started on whatever project I am working on. 

Wednesday 7 December 2022

Update from the Operations Room - December 2022

Another look back at what I have been working on last month. Preparation for the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge has been the main theme, both in terms of researching the period I want to fight (Bosworth) and preparing the miniatures ready for the competition. 

Sunday 4 December 2022

What's your favourite war movie?

What's your favourite war movie? Did it inspire you to pick a period? Maybe they just had a great script or an iconic actor to inspire you. Or maybe they were visually impressive or beautifully filmed and you wanted to replicate that in your later wargaming? So today I thought I would discuss three particular war movies that I have enjoyed and explain why they inspired me to play a period. 

Tuesday 29 November 2022

Battle of Fessealair, 1796: A Remote game using Volley & Bayonet 1st Edition

Sunday's game in the Shed-o-War had to be canceled because our umpire for the game had fallen ill with Covid (yes folks, it hasn't gone away!). Thankfully he is up to date with his vaccines and while he felt a bit grotty, he was still well enough to host a game remotely over Zoom. So instead of playtesting his rules for the French Wars of Religion, we played a French Revolutionary game using Volley and Bayonet. The result was an excellent encounter that kept us busy all day. The only thing missing was Stuart's Spam sandwiches at lunchtime. 

I took a few poor-quality screenshot photo's during the game that gives an idea of the action. However, I recommend checking out Richards's blog where he has posted some much better-quality pictures taken during the game: My Wargaming Habit

As this was a meeting encounter both sides were marching on from points on opposite sides of the table and would need to form up to engage the enemy. I was the leader for the French Side but as I hadn't played these rules before I relied heavily on the guidance of Ray, my second in command, on how the game played. We had time for a brief strategy session before everyone else Zoomed in and Richard began explaining the game. 

Volley and Bayonet have been around for a long time (1994 I think?) and Richard was using the 1st edition book for this game. It is very much a grand tactical scale battle, with each 60x60 base representing a battalion of several regiments. Movement distances are generous but that just helped to speed the game along with each turn representing about an hour of action. We managed 5 turns which roughly equaled the time we were playing in the real world. I think Richard is considering using these rules for a big campaign and has been experimenting with different rulesets to find the best choice for remote play. Frankly, these rules worked a treat and I'd be quite happy if we used them for our games, but that's a decision for Richard to make. 

Incidentally, all the figures for this game are MDF flats from Commission Figurines. Richard has made an excellent job of painting these and frankly, you have to get a lot closer than the standard '3ft rule' to tell they aren't 3D metal figures. 

So as mentioned our Divisions entered the table in columns with a gap between each base to represent the 'strung out' nature of marching along a road. So Ray & I decided not to rush and to only take a part move with the lead battalions so the following ones could catch up. The aim was to get each Division into a line as quickly as possible so that individual battalions would not be vulnerable to flanking attacks. In my sector on the left of the French zone, I had a wood which was both an obstacle and also provided a good anchor point for deployed divisions. The only formations that moved significantly forward were my Cavalary Battalions on the left and Rays on the right. 

I was facing Surjit on my side of the table and true to form he rushed his Battalions forward to close down my room for maneuvering. Both Cavalry Battalions were soon engaging with the Austrians and I pushed forward my forward infantry division and artillery to support the attack. Unfortunately, my dice rolling was less than inspiring and this division suffered as a result. However, this gave me room to deploy and take up static positions with the following division and then fall back the damaged one to form a fairly solid line. 

By this stage, both I and Ray had settled our divisions into a good line and would now get a bonus in combat because our Battalions were stationary. If the Austrians attacked they would do so at a disadvantage. And that is precisely what they decided to do, attacking simultaneously along most of our line. On the receiving end, it felt quite alarming, but the dice gods were smiling on us and the resulting battles broke the Austrian army with acceptable losses on our side. 

This was a thoroughly enjoyable game and a set of rules I hope we get to play again. I strongly recommend having a look at Richard's post on this, plus as already mentioned there are some better pictures of the figures to enjoy.  

Monday 21 November 2022

Return to Ravenloft turns 50

Back when the first Covid Lockdown got going my old roleplaying group decided to get together online to resume playing 5th Edition D&D. We'd all drifted to different parts of the globe making face-to-face gaming difficult, Covid just underlined our inability to get together for games.

Thanks to Zoom we had finally found a way to play again, regardless of where in the world we found ourselves. Almost immediately we fell effortlessly back into our bi-weekly cycle of games as if nothing had happened. My old schoolmate Andrew took the reins as DM this time around and for the last two years, we have been playing a long-running campaign set in the dark and horror-filled domain of Ravenloft. A couple of nights ago we had our 50th game of this particular campaign, and sure enough, it didn't disappoint. We have brokered a deal with the probably corrupt town guard; won over the trust of some locals; learned a few of the town's mysteries; and fought a vampire which had killed the blacksmith.

Our characters for this campaign have been nurtured from 1st level, slowly gaining in abilities and power. With each passing game, their personalities are being developed and after two years I feel like I know these characters as real people. In particular, I have come to have an abiding affection for my Gnome Wizard, Brocc Dargal. He is a former reclusive librarian who has been forced into the world and finds he rather likes it. He is still a bit anti-social which has manifested itself as a slightly pyromaniacal penchant for fire spells. His ability to 'blow shit up' has become legendary. Like all the best characters he is deeply flawed and at the same time bravely epic! He has definitely earned his place in my D&D Hall of Fame alongside some of my other favorite characters from 40+ years of D&D. 

Sunday 20 November 2022

Nature verses Nurture: Are we born Wargamers or is it all down to upbringing?

Are Wargamers born with a predisposition to strategy, tactics, and gaming, or is it entirely down to our upbringing? The significance of Nature versus Nurture has been debated for hundreds of years in science, literature, and film. But does the argument hold true for Wargamers? 

Sunday 13 November 2022

Slap Chop: Martial Art or Painting Technique?

There's a new(ish) painting technique in town and it's called Slap Chop. But is it new? Is it controversial and is it as innovative as its supporters claim? More importantly, does it have any value as a painting technique for the small-scale historical wargamer?

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Gallic Cavalry, Chariots & Heros

I have started preparing figures for this year's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge which starts in late December. In the process, I found some stuff from last year that apparently didn't get finished in time. These Gallic Chariots and Cavalry had started to be painted but were still a long way from completion.  I guess I must have decided they couldn't be completed by the end of the challenge and put them aside. I can't enter them for this year's competition (that, of course, would be cheating) so instead, I decided to pull my finger out and get them finished...a year after starting them! 

I also painted a few extra mounted Cauari (heroes) and a couple of Corionos and Uellauni (Senior and sub-Generals or "chiefs of battle.") on the larger bases. They aren't my best work but they are good enough to play with and I'm just glad to add them to my current collection of Gauls. I just need to add some labels to the rear of the bases but that will have to wait as my printer has just run out of ink! 

Sunday 6 November 2022

Cradle to the Grave

Is there such as thing as being too old to wargamer? And what about being too young? Surely our hobby is suitable for all ages from the Cradle (almost) to the Grave. Personally, I plan on checking out at a very old age with either a dice, a brush, or a mini in my hands. 

Sunday 30 October 2022

Do you record your battles?

Do you record your battles? I don't mean, do you film them, but do you keep a record of each game in a battle diary, blog, database, spreadsheet, or even on record cards?

Sunday 23 October 2022

Are Wargamers Historians

Wargamers often describe themselves as historians but are they really? Does the very act of wargaming turn a nerd with a head full of facts into a real historian? 

Thursday 20 October 2022

The Battle of Fort Arid: Battle Report

The Battle of Fort Arid is a semi-fictional encounter set in French Algeria in the early years of the 20th Century. French Foreign Legionnaires supported by colonial troops of the Armee D'Afrique fight for survival in a dilapidated fort somewhere in the desert of western Algeria. Surrounded by a large and determined coalition of Berber tribesmen, the French forces have nowhere to run and must fight for survival or die where they stand. 

Wednesday 19 October 2022

The Other Partizan 2022: My Loot

Last week I posted a video slideshow of my recent trip to The Other Partizan at Newark Showground. I intended to follow this up with a quick post about the goodies I bought from the various traders...and promptly forgot all about it! Well, I have remembered now and I thought I would share a few pictures of my haul. 

I bought a load of books on Standards, Badges & Livery colours for my next project, the Wars of the Roses. They set me back a few quid, but I'm sure they will be worth every penny. I also picked up some Vallejo paints I needed to replace used colours and a Dracula figure from Bad Squiddo. No, I'm not embarking on Silver Bayonet, I just liked the figure. 

These were all from the Lance & Longbow Society

The colour plates of the standards are excellent and will come in very handy when I start my project

The standards will look wonderful in 6mm and will help draw the eye away from my brushwork! 

I also bought a few of these Gazetteers (I think there are over 20 in the series) just to see if they are of any value and if they complement, or duplicate, the flags in the other set of books. 

Again, packed full of information and colour representations of the flags. 

My next challenge is reading all this new source material! I look forward to immersing myself in the period and felt especially inspired as there were at least five WoTR games at Partizan, all eye-watteringly beautiful. 

Saturday 15 October 2022

Update from the Operations Room Oct 22

Its time for another Update from the Operations Room, looking back at what I have been up to in October 2022.

Friday 14 October 2022

Battle of Solferino - Assault on San Cassiano and Cavriana

Over the last three weeks, Posties Rejects have been taking part in a remote game with Jonathan Freitag (of Palouse Wargaming Journal fame) over in Washington State in the US. With Zoom as our medium of choice, we had seven players join Jonathan over three weekly sessions to play a huge battle, representing just part of the Solferino battlefield. I had the privilege to command the Austrians with Steve and John as my co-generals. Ray, Richard Surjit, and Dave played the French. 

All the pictures are from Jonathan and are used with his kind permission. I expect he took a few more reference pictures so keep an eye peeled for his own review of the game which will no doubt appear on his blog in due course. I had planned on taking a few pictures myself but the game was so intense and required so much attention the time shot past and I didn't take a single picture or screenshot! A testament I think to how good the game was. 

The Battle of Solferino was the largest European battle since the Battle of Leipzig in 1813 so unsurprisingly Jon has broken the battle down into sectors. A few months ago we played the eastern sector and for this series of games, we were focused on the Center Sector. I'll let Jon describe the situation in his own words, taken verbatim from our pre-battle briefing: 
"The Austrians, having planned to advance against the French and Sardinians to the west were surprised when the Allies jumped into action and stole a march on the Austrian Army. Having been caught off-balance, the Austrian 2nd Army primarily took up a defensive attitude around Solferino and San Cassiano. The Austrian 1st Army, with more maneuver room on the Medole Plain attempted to take the offensive. Even though the French were initially outnumbered on the plain, uncoordinated attacks by the Austrians allowed the French to fight the enemy to a standstill.
The primary avenue of attack for the French was along the spine of the Solferino Heights. As the French 1st Corps attacked along the spline to the north (North Sector) and the French 4th Corp battled the Austrian 1st Army in the south (South Sector), MacMahon’s 2nd Corps remained idle, sandwiched between these to battles (Center Sector). If he turned north to aid in the attack against Solferino, he risked being flanked by the Austrian 1st Army in the South Sector. If he turned against the Austrian 1st Army to the south, he risked being attacked in the flank by the Austrian I Corps.
Finally, about noon, with reinforcements arriving on the battlefield, MacMahon and the French 2nd Corps finally began moving off to engage the enemy at San Cassiano and Cavriana. MacMahon needed to engage the Austrians in the Center Sector so that I Corps could neither reinforce the battles raging on the Solferino Heights in the north nor the battles on the Medole Plain around Guidizzolo in the south.
The French goal in the Center Sector is to pin the Austrian I Corps and prevent it from reinforcing either North or South Sectors. Defeating this Corps in detail will strengthen the odds of taking the difficult heights to the north. Speed is of the essence!"

As the Austrian commander, my Commands goal was to hold the centre while pinning the French 2nd Corps allowing the 1st Army in the south to overpower the French forces opposing it. We were tasked with defending the heights to the south of Solferino, holding our ground as long as possible. If we could hold San Cassiano and Cavriana until Turn 8, we would have bettered history but only if we manage to do so without breaking our Corps in the process. So we had to fight hard but also protect our fighting integrity which we quickly realised was no small task! 

At this point, I need to make an apology. I would like to go into a blow-by-blow account of the action but to be honest, the intensity of the game meant that whilst we were all engaged in detailed action I didn't have time to make the sort of detailed notes that I would have liked. Instead, I'll try to discuss the game in terms of the Acts, representing the three sessions in which we fought this battle. Each game had a different 'flavour' and together tell a dramatic and nail-biting story of victory & defeat! 

Game One - 26th September 2022
Having spent the previous week pouring over the pre-game briefing - during which each side had gathered via zoom for strategy meetings - the evening of the first game started early. It was especially early for our host Jonathan (based as he is in Washington State in the US) but also early for us as we kicked off at 6pm meaning we call rushed back from work and grabbed a hurried bite to eat before the game started. 

From the Austrian perspective, we had had our strategy session a few days earlier, had divided our forces between us and agreed on a simple plan. We would defend the heights, including a string of villages and towns, as staunchly as we could, until it was clear what the French plan was. I took the lead Division and expected to face the first attack by the enemy. However we were not expecting the French to attack as quickly or in the numbers, we encountered so early in the game. The rest of their army would have a long arcing route march to engage our army and we expected them to soften us up with artillery before coming in simultaneously from all sides. Instead, they very quickly commenced an attack on the heights defended by one of my Brigades under Major General Hoditz. 

Within a couple of turns, my position here was being seriously contested by French regiments trying to use superior numbers and brute force to push my Brigade out of the defended villages in the heights above them. On paper, they had the advantage and one particular attack resulted in 12 french attack dice being arranged against three Austrian dice. The French, fighting uphill, rolled poorly and the Austrians rolled well. This resulted in morale checks for each 'hit' and here my position worked for me. When the dust settled my defenders had escaped unscathed and thrown back the French attack. Cue much moaning and gnashing of teeth by the French commanders who just couldn't believe their blunt force attack had failed. It seems lady luck was Austrian this evening. 

Meanwhile a huge body of French guns, infantry and cavalry has begun to advance down the other side of the battlefield. And boy did they have a lot of guns! But in this first session, it began to feel as if the French had too much because they were getting in each other's way and tieing themselves in knots keeping fields of fire open for their big guns. Brigades were already starting to become intermingled and to the Austrian players, it looked like the french were tripping over their own shoelaces!

Austrian co-commander Steve had meanwhile set up his brigades in our centre but had also put in place an important backstop position behind my Division in case it had to fall back. Defence in Depth was the order of the day for us and the French would have to cut their way through a lot of angry Austrians to achieve their objectives. Steve had also managed to deploy his artillery with a wide field of fire and, from turn one, had started to bombard the advancing mass of Frenchmen. Third Austrian commander John had similarly deployed our reserve artillery and his cavalry pointing down the length of the battlefield waiting for the French to expose their flank as they swung into our positions on the heights. 

At the end of the first session, our Austrians were still firmly in control of the heights having stubbornly resisted several French assaults. My Divison was taking the most damaged at this point, but considering we had managed to hold our ground, and dealt a lot of damage to the French, we felt confident going into the second session a week later. 

Game Two - 3rd October
It was clear from the start that the French had had a serious planning session following the first days gaming. They began attacking in a much more coordinated fashion and Ray's infantry was starting to advance towards Steve's units in the centre. 

My Divison's of Hodiz and & Reznicek started to take more casualties as the french clawed a foothold on the heights and began pushing me back. Fortunately, we had seen this threat in the first game and decided to move Steve's Brigade under MG Paszthory to form a rear line of defence and they were able to add some of their firepower to support my Brigades. 

Meanwhile, his other Brigade under MG Bruner, plus the artillery, had made mincemeat of at least one French infantry Brigade controlled by Ray and brought their Cavalry under Richard to the edge of breaking. 

By the end of the second day of fighting the Austrian position was starting to look precarious up on the heights, and we had taken more casualties than we were comfortable with. Both sides looked battered and we all knew that the third session a week later would be crucial. It felt as if both sides were close to breaking and, despite the fact that the Austrians still held both the key towns, everything was still to play for.  

Game Three - 10th October
Jon had incorporated some fog-of-war by ensuring that neither side really know how close the other was to breaking. Neither side had started with an order of battle for the enemy, and brigades on both sides had become hopelessly muddled so it was exceptionally hard to decide where to focus effort to break the enemy army. On the Austrian side, we were even confused amongst ourselves so I went through each unit and colour-coded them so we could reorganise more effectively. 

Bruners Brigade (in Steve's commend,s shown in Orange) was the healthiest while those of Paszthory (in blue) were close to breaking so we pulled these back to protect them. My Division had already been broken so Hoditz and Reznicek's brigades would fight to the last man if necessary to slow the French advance. We knew the French Cavalry were close to breaking and probably needed to break another French infantry Brigade to force them to retire, but the enemy brigades were so jumbled it was going to be pot-luck if we destroyed the right units to break brigades. 

Gae three thus commenced with both sides feeling that victory was in their grasp. The French continued to probe and push along the heights but made little ground due to the heroic sacrifice of the Stankovics Division (my Hoditz and Reznicek Brigades). On the plain, the french had swung around and were bearing down on the heights and Steve's positions. We gave ground slowly and every inch was paid for in French blood. 

Then we saw an opportunity and our Cavalry (John's Mensdorff Division) launched forward and broke the French Cavalry in front of them. Then in the final turn of the game, our Artillery pounded the French Infantry on the Plain. By sheer luck, we targeted the right units and broke another French Brigade and with that their Army. 

The victory was Austrian and somehow we had managed to better history.

The Calm after the Storm
A few days later Jon sent out the final butcher bill and both sides had been brought incredibly close to breaking. The game really could have gone either way in that last session, but in the end, luck and bull-headed stubbornness were on the Austrian side. Not only had we broken the French army we had held onto both the towns in the heights meaning we had not merely prevailed but had bettered history convincingly. 

Thanks must go to Jonathan for the huge effort he put into running this game for us. At a rough guess, we had somewhere around 12 hours of gameplay over the three sessions and throughout it all he was a gracious and patient host. Please take a look at Jonathans blog and keep an eye out for his own write-up of the game which I'm sure will be both more detailed and less biased than mine!#

The first two posts by Jonathan are on his blog now
Solferino: Setting the Stage and the first part of the game itself Solferino: First Contact

Thursday 13 October 2022

The Other Partizan 2022 Show Report

A few days overdue but I have finally sorted through my pictures from The Other Partizan at Newark. Once again an impressively high standard of creativity and innovation was on display plus, of course, thousands of beautifully painted toy soldiers. 

Apologies in advance for the background music volume... I forgot to rebalance the sound levels before completing the video! On the other hand, maybe you like the 1812 Overture at full volume in which, case you're welcome! 😆

Sunday 9 October 2022

How often do you play

How often do you wargame? I average a couple of games per month thanks to solo games and remote games facilitated by Zoom which top up the number of face-to-face games with my group. But is there a number of games per year below which the respectable player can only be described as a part-time wargamer?

Tuesday 4 October 2022

2mm French Wars of Religion: Play-testing new rules

Posties Reject's scholar in residence, Richard, has been collecting 2mm miniatures for the French Wars of Religion since the beginning of the year. Painting two armies didn't take long and then he started work on creating a set of rules for the period. He unveiled them in the shed-o-war on Sunday for a play-test (or stress-test when the rejects are concerned!) to get our feedback and to work out any issues. Everyone involved loved the miniatures and enjoy the rules, but more importantly, Richard went home with a load of notes and things to consider for the next revision of the rules. I expect he will be posting more details on his blog My Wargaming Habit in due course so pop over and take a look there.

 In the meantime here are a few teaser pictures from the weekend. 

Small but perfectly formed. 

Nice neat lines... but not for long.

The green dice indicate Quality and the white dice Cohesion (which can go up or down during the game). 

The figures may be tiny but the level of concentration and thought that went into this game was huge. 

Before anyone asks, I won't say much more about the rules at this point. They aren't mine to unveil and besides, they aren't ready yet so everything we tested on Sunday is still up for revision. I expect Richard has lots to ponder in the months ahead. What I can say is that everyone involved enjoyed this first sneak peek and are no doubt looking forward to the next iteration of the rules, as am I. 

Sunday 2 October 2022

Wargamer Etiquette

As a social wargamer, I have some general rules of good behaviour that can be summarised as my five rules of wargamer etiquette. Follow these and I believe you will have better games, become a better player and have a much better time. 

Friday 30 September 2022

Basing the Wars of the Roses

My simple six-step approach to basing for 6mm figures. I will be using this approach for my upcoming Wars of the Roses project. Now that I know how I am going to do it I have a shopping list of materials to buy so I don't run out of the right colour of paint or the right type of turf halfway through the project. 

Look out for the 'deliberate' mistake a few minutes into the video 🤣 I decided to keep it in rather than refilm the segment because it's not the first time (and probably won't be the last ) I've named it wrong. Silly boy! 

Sunday 25 September 2022

Are you a Hobby Hipster? or an Old Grognard?

Are you a Hobby Hipster? A painter and modeller that follows the latest trends and fashions, from contrast paints to 3D printing (and everything in between)? Or, like me, do you pick and choose those developments that suit your needs? 

Friday 23 September 2022

Unboxing the Wars of the Roses

I have been hinting for a while now that I was considering the Wars of the Roses as a new period. In particular, I was drawn to the range of 6mm miniatures produced by Baccus and their Matched Pair army deal. A reassuringly heavy box of figures arrived a few days ago so I decided it would be good to share a look at what you get.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

Tirailleurs: Finished at last!

Well, it's taken long enough, but I have finally finished two units of Tirailleurs for my French Colonial project. They have sat on my desk - half painted - for weeks. I started these before my recent holiday and didn't get them completed before I left. And that break in the workflow made getting back to them all the harder. Their completion marks the end of my French Colonial project (for the time being at least) as I've now painted everything I originally set out to do. On paper at least, I now have enough points worth of troops to run some very very large games, or give myself plenty of choices when selecting units for solo adventures in the Operations Room. Now all that is left to do is play some more games with them! 

The term Tirailleur was originally used in the Napoleonic era to describe a type of light infantry. However, by the middle of the 19th Century, it was used to describe the indigenous infantry recruited in the French colonial territories. In North West Africa these were recruited from the Arab and Berber communities and became known as the Tirailleurs Algerien. Until the first world war, these troops wore distinctive Zouave-style uniforms of light blue with yellow braiding, white turbans, red fezzes and red sashes. During WWI they had Khaki uniforms but the traditional kit returned for a while (it was considered an aid to recruitment) and, in later years, for ceremonial occasions. 

I wanted to have some Tirailleurs available because they played such an important role in the French conquest of Algeria and Morocco. It was these native troops that would often be left to garrison and maintain order in newly acquired territories, under the command of French officers of course. 

In The Men Who Would Be Kings, these are Irregular Troops. Unlike the native troops in other nations' colonial armies, the Tirailleurs were issued with modern rifles and drilled more or less as regular troops. It's unclear from what I have read how well they were trained, but one source suggested they did not receive the same quality of gunnery practice as regular units. To reflect these two traits I have made both units Well-Armed so they have modern weapons with a range of 24" but one of the units has the Poor Shot modifier and only hit on a 6 instead of a 5+. 

Now all that remains is to get these guys onto the game table and see how they perform. 

Sunday 18 September 2022

Victory Conditions: Essential or unnecessary?

Are Victory Conditions an essential element in tabletop wargames, or are they completely unnecessary? 

Wednesday 14 September 2022

Uppdate from the Operations Room 3

It's time for another Update from the Operations room, looking back at what I have been up to over the last month (in this case, mostly travelling)

Sunday 11 September 2022

How many historical periods do you have?

How many historical periods do you own? Do you play with them all or have some languished in storage for years? In essence, today's video is asking: Is there such as thing as too many historical periods for a wargamer? And does that number change over time? 

Friday 9 September 2022

A moment to pause and reflect

Dignity, respect, service, duty. These are words that often seem remote and old-fashioned in our modern and often turbulent world but were personified by the late monarch. I have been struggling to write something appropriate this morning but my words are inadequate for the solemnity of the occasion. Whatever your views on the institution of a constitutional monarchy I hope that most agree that Queen Elizabeth II embodied the best qualities of her age and was a much-loved icon of our times. She will be missed greatly. 

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Battle of Koschlitz 1757: A Seven Years War Batrep

A week and a half ago Stuart put on a Seven Years War game for me Steve. None of the others could make this game sadly, so this was just us two going head to head across a large table. The game produced some interesting results and a decisive outcome for one of us...but I'm jumping ahead of myself. Today's post is a little overdue as this game took place over a week and a half ago. The work-life balance has been a little off-centre, to say the least, and it's not likely to change for a few weeks.

Orders of Battle
First off, my Austrians:
1st Battalion - 55th D'Arberg(2), 48th Luzan(1), Grenadiers(1), Medium Gun
2nd Battalion - 27th Boden-Durloch(2), 51 Gyulay(2), Light Gun
3rd Battalion - 4th Bretlach Curassiers(1), 12 Modena Currassiers(1)
4th Battalion - 6th Traultmansdorff Curassiers (1)
5th Battalion - 6th Balthuany Dragoons(1), 7th Leverstein Dragoons(1)
6th Battalion - Palatinal Hussars(1)
7th Battalion - Karlstadter Likaner (Croat)(1)
Supply Waggon

Facing these across the field stood Steves Prussians:
1st Battalion - 45th Fusiliers(2), 41st Fusiliers, Medium Gun
2nd Battalion - 7th Musketeer(2), 1oth Musketeer(1), Grenadier(1), Medium Gun
3rd Battalion - 2nd Curassiers(1), 11th Currassiers(1)
4th Battalion - 1st Dragoons(1), 3rd Dragoons(1)
5th Battalion - 4th Dragoons(1)
6th Battalion - 2nd Hussars(1)
7th Battalion - Jagers
Supply Waggon

The Action 

The setup stage saw each side roll for initiative and place Brigades one at a time. Steve and I more or less matched each other move for move. We also rolled for commander quality and in this my dice were better making two of my three leaders exceptional (+2 instead of +1 in morale and melee checks)

The cavalry moves in. Steve was more cautious with his movement...or maybe he just wanted to make me stretch across the table. 

Every unit went in perfectly with charge and counter charge all along the line. This was going to be messy. 

Hang on...I won a cavalry melee...what going on?? This never happens. Steve moves his unit back but have they retreated far enough to avoid being hit in the rear by the pursuing Cavalry?

Cor Blimey!!! With one exception, I send Steve's cavalry packing all along the line, hitting two in the rear and destroying them outright. It's going to take a few turns to recover and reorganise but there is now a real possibility that I can move behind Steve's infantry on the right of the table. 

Meanwhile, his infantry advance and take advantage of their better drill to move and oblique to threaten the flanks of my impeccable line. However, this is slowing down his advance and I can wait to respond to his manoeuvring for a few more turns. 

In the centre my Hussars and a unit of Cuirassiers clash with Steve's Hussars...

Predictably my Currasiers win easily, pursuing and destroying the Hussars facing them. However, they are now fatigued and I will have to stand them for a while turn to recover before I can move them again. Meanwhile Steve wins the melee between his and my Hussars, but I am able to retreat enough that he cannot pursue. My Hussars live to fight another day. 

In the centre the Prussian infantry are continuing to move to my flanks...but this is creating a big gap in the centre of their line which I may be able to exploit. (btw the little white markers behind the units denote that they have not used their First Fire bonus yet)

At last, the infantry are in musketry range. When a unit is hit it must make a Moral test to see in the men stand or retreat half a move. Steve's dice let him down again. 

Both sides take casualties in the shooting phase, but my men stand their ground and the Prussians partially fall back. 

The same happens on the other flank. Some of my unengaged units in the centre are now in a position to change facing to bring fire to bare on the flanks of the Prussian Brigades. 

This picture doesn't show it but two of my Currasier units, have now recovered their fatigue and are beginning to move around the rear of the Prussian lines. It will take a couple of turns of movement for them to become a threat, but the fact is the Prussians can't win now. 

Steve reluctantly, but wisely, concedes defeat and withdraws his army from the field. 

Well, what can I say, the dice gods were with me this day. I did feel sorry for Steve because his dice were utterly appalling and no amount of generalship could make up for that. That being said, we both enjoyed the game and had a very pleasant afternoon rolling dice and pushing little metal men around the table, so all in all a very good day. 

Sunday 4 September 2022

The end the Friendly Local Game Store?

Are our Friendly Local Game Stores coming to an end? Many already have over the last few decades, from takeovers by Games Workshop to the advent of internet shopping. But it is possible that for many small, often family-run stores a new existential threat could be the final straw.

Saturday 3 September 2022

Battle of Tikit Oasis: A TMWWBK Battle Report

A Battle Report of a solo game of The Men Who Would be Kings. This is a fictional encounter between the Foreign Legion and Berbers somewhere in Algeria c 1900-1905 using the 'Take the High Road' scenario. The Legion has sent out a company of men to deal with a small oasis which they suspect is being used as a base by Berber raiders. Whether that is true or not will only be discovered after the shooting stops. 

I took a few pictures while playing the game and thought I would share them below.


The Berber positions are all being treated as soft cover (you'll have to watch the video to find out why) but nonetheless they look well dug in and prepared for the attack.

Closeup of the Oasis

Captain Renoir is a hardy veteran and leads his men from the front

Pushing up to the wall of the buildings in the oasis

If you haven't seen the video yet...look away now. 

The French Foreign Legion storm the walls of the oasis buildings and force their way inside.