Sunday 27 February 2022

Writing Better Wargame Scenarios

What makes a good wargame scenario? Is it problem-solving, tactical compromises or simply lots of Action? I discuss a few traditional ways to make game scenarios more interesting but also have a radical suggestion to put before you. 

Tuesday 22 February 2022

Three Museums and a Cathedral

My recent trip to the south of England for a holiday in mid-winter wasn't as dull as it may sound. No matter where I am, and regardless of the weather, this old Grognard can still have a few Miniature Adventures.

Sunday 20 February 2022

This is the End

Have you ever given up a Period, or sold an army? Have you ever decided enough is enough and declared a project 'finished'? Today I discuss moving on to other things and the occasional regret of having done so.

Sunday 13 February 2022

The Travel Toolbox: Taking your Hobby on Holiday

Do you take your hobby on holiday with you? Setting aside the idea of bringing your painted armies to the beach is there some aspect of your hobby that comes with you when you travel. Maybe you bring a box of paints, assemble some figures or just catch up on your reading? Today I discuss some of the things I have done in the past, and my plans for my next holiday with the family. 

Thursday 10 February 2022

The Battle of Pasta Castiglione 1796

Last weekend the Rejects assembled in the Shed-o-War for another 28mm Napoleonic game using Richards homegrown rules. These were debuted the Broadside show in November last year and we asked Richard if he could run another game while the rules were still relatively fresh in our minds. The result was a very exciting and challenging game with a result that went to the wire and kept us on our toes right to the end. 

Normally I would present an order-of-battle and breakdown of the troops but I'm running out of time to get this done before heading away for the weekend. It's been a busy week on several fronts and I still have several projects to wrap up before the evening is over! 

The game is based on real events and see's the French Army bearing down on the Austrians with superior numbers. An Austrian attempt to relieve the besieged city of Mantua by a pincer movement down both sides of Lake Garda has thrown back Quasdanovich's western wing back to the north in disarray at the Battle of Lontano. However, Wurmsers army now threatens to push the French back towards Lombardy & Piedmont. The French are forced to lift the siege of Mantua to deal with the Austrians. Fiorella is marching hard towards the Austrian rear while Bonaparte's army attempts to push the Austrians back. The plan is to try to capture the heights and Solferino to cut the Austrian line of communication, forcing them back towards Mantua. If they can achieve this the Austrians will be trapped between two armies and destroyed. 

Meanwhile, the Austrians are aware that Quasdanovich's army has been pushed back but are not aware that the French have withdrawn their forces around Mantua and are marching towards their rear. The Austrians are aware that there are some french forces in that direction, but not how many. The plan is to push the French force before them back towards Castiglione and then to Piedmont. If this can be accomplished the Austrians can turn their attention to the relief of Mantua. 

The Action 

Both sides had a chance to redeploy their forces before the game started. It looks like the French are weighting their left flank to smash through our thin-looking lines. 

A panoramic view of the whole table

Richard oversees the opening moves (those French players can't be trusted!) as Mark starts his push down towards Solferino.

Meanwhile, I throw out some skirmishers in the woods on the heights, and in front of my thin division in the centre. Postie points his attack columns at my men and starts to move forwards. 

The French advance towards Solferino is a little hesitant but still looks frighteningly strong. 

The Attack Columns in front of my line take some skirmish fire but not enough to slow them down. 

Meanwhile, Surjit, guarding our left flank moves his Cavalry past our redoubt and prepares to charge the French. 

Marks columns get closer and the first fire and melee's take place. This is the point where we realise I have passed my Dice Curse onto Ray...his rolling was appalling! 

A case in point: 8 dice, needing fours, fives and sixes, and only a single hit!!

Posties column rushes towards Rays line on the heights. 

Meanwhile, I exchange gunfire with the french. My skirmishers are sent packing, but at least they held up the French for a turn. 

It's starting to hot up over on our right flank. 

Poor Surjit had moved so far against the French he had to climb on the table to move his troops. 

I don't know what Postie is smiling at...maybe Mark can see the danger from our superior cavalry ready to pounce. 

Surjit moved some of his infantry forward..trying to tempt the French light cavalry on the right to charge them. Now our heavy and medium cavalry are in position. Say goodbye to the French wing. 

Stuart pushes three of his five attack columns forward leaving their flank terribly exposed. I duly obliged and poured fire into their flank. 

The centre and right of our line where the bulk of the fighting was taking place. I'm firing and falling back steadily, while my Skirmishers continue in the woods. Ray on the right is putting up a stiff fight and has fallen back on Solferino. If he can roll better dice maybe we'll be able to hold it!

Ray countercharges one of Posties columns. 

My skirmishers in the woods trade blows with the french but hold the position throughout the battle. 

I have reduced the French attack to two columns which have to be split against two of my units (better than the normal 2:1 ratio the French prefer). But one of my units has taken fire and its morale has dropped to Anxious. The melee ought to have been a sure thing but I roll really well and sneak an unexpected draw. 

Rays dice rolling continues to be below par, but he's making the French fight for every inch. 

Surjit launched his cavalry charge sweeping the French off the table...then promptly fail a leadership test and chase off after them!!! Stuart tried to make out this was 'planned'. Surely a bending of the truth that wouldn't be out of place in Westminster! 

The French attack in the centre has been stalled but two fresh units are joining the fray and my men are holding, but badly mauled. 

The French continue to push past Solferino on one side while a column prepares to assault the down itself. 

Meanwhile, Surjit gathers his infantry and artillery from the redoubt and starts to move towards the road to Castiglione which if gained would force the French to retire. 

Disaster! A failed morale roll sends the defenders of Solferino back leaving the town to be occupied. However, while this has been happening the French attack next to the town has taken a lot of casualties and one unit is about to fall back itself. 

The French capitalised on the Austrian loss of Solferino but it has cost them a lot of casualties. It would have cost them more had the Dice Gods not abandoned poor Ray.

One last push and the French have broken through, but is it enough to gain them victory??

Conclusion and Analysis
Richard consults his charts - he's been keeping a careful log of casualties, destroyed and routed units, killed leaders and captured colours...and he calls the game for the Austrians! Ray, Surjit and I are very pleased with this, we thought we couldn't win this game when we saw the setup. Despite Rays appaling dice, we played a fighting retreat making the French bleed for every inch of ground they had to take. 

Unfortunately in history, the Austrians were being pinned in place as the French recently from Mantua advanced towards their rear. Strategically the Austrians were on to a looser from the start, but tactically we held the day and gave young Boney a bloody nose. 

Wednesday 9 February 2022

AHPC Update 3 - The Sands of the Sud-Oranais

I was planning on doing these Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge updates weekly, but that idea was abandoned pretty quickly. We are a little over halfway through the event and I have managed to hit my target. I still have a lot left to do so I have increased my target by another couple of hundred points just to keep the pressure on me to get as much painted as I can for my French Foreign Legion project.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

Caesar Award Finalist: Thank You!

This afternoon I learned that one of my videos had been named as a finalist in the Quick Strike Category of the Little Wars TV Caesar Awards 2022. I'm really blown away by this, especially when I know how good some of the other contenders were because I nominated many of them myself! Thank you to everyone that nominated my Operation Caravan video and please got to the LWTV list of nominees and check out some amazing filmmakers in our hobby. 

Sunday 6 February 2022

Length Matters

What is the perfect length for a wargame? The answer to that question will likely depend on who's answering, what games they play, who they play with and where they play. But can there be a consensus on the perfect game length?