Friday, 24 July 2015

Wars of the Roses Scenario Idea

Readers of this blog will know that one of the groups that I regularly play in has dabbled in Wars of the Roses and that back in May I took the plunge and purchased some Perry plastics for this period. I had no real plan at that time other than to build up a small retinue for use with the others in the group.

found that the two boxes I bought, the archers/polearms and the foot knights, enabled me to build two units of archers, one of billmen, two of foot knights and a command base. I decided that I would build a retinue for each side and that each retinue would consist of two units of archers one of billmen and one of foot knights, plus the noble. I would also add a few units of mercenaries. I quickly found that I could achieve this with two more boxes of figures and I now have two retinues plus a unit each of mercenary crossbows and handgunners, and a unit of pike in construction. All units have a standard structure of three stands containing five miniatures.

Friday will see my little army having its first outing so here are a few images of Lord Fauconbeg's retinue.

Fauconberg and his standard bearer.

The Infantry with Polearms

The Retinue Knights

One of the units of Archers

Then on one of those long, tedious drives home that I have to endure each day in the Auckland traffic I had an idea about how to use these forces in a game system that could be played over and over again on different terrain.

First of all I would need to get some more figures – how surprising that one of my projects should start out as a small force and then expand – probably to a little more than double the current force.

The idea is that the game involves six commands, one of while represents Richard and another that represents Henry, and a reasonably large table with a busy, rolling terrain. The game can be larger and accommodate more commands, but I had a limit it to what I was willing to collect. 

The table is divided into four roughly equal areas with as many overlapping and borders as possible. Each area has a village of three or four buildings or small castle, each of which is at least 1 meter away from the next village. Each of these villages is a home base for one of remaining four commands each of which represents a local noble and has a retinue of two units of archers, one of billmen and one of foot knights. The graphic shows a possible table layout (without terrain details), where the coloured areas represent the different domains and the black dots the villages.
A Two Player game

In a two player game one player represents Henry and one Richard. The game starts with each drawing one of four cards, marked A, B, C or D. At that point Richard and Henry, declare thie cards and,  accompanied by a unit of mounted knights, arrive on the table edge that corresponds to their card, as marked on the graphic, and raise their standard. This is an area of divided loyalties so no one really knows who supports who so to determine loyalties:

The other commands, under the leadership of a noble are placed in their home bases

For each noble roll 1xD6. A score of 1 or 2 and the noble aligns to Richard, a 3 or 4 to Henry and a 5 or 6 stands neutral. 

Six cards, one for each of the units of mercenaries and one blank, are shuffled and placed face down, one in each of the Noble’s areas and two more randomly, and at least 500mm away from any home base. These are then turned over and the mercenaries placed there in camp.

Any noble who has declared his allegiance is controlled by the appropriate player. 

The game commences as normal within the limits of the rules being played.  In the normal move sequence, each player may attempt to approach the mercenaries or the non-aligned retinues. This they do by moving a unit or a commander to within 200mm of the other unit and rolling 1xD6 with the following result:

For mercenaries a score of 4,5,6 will have them join the faction approaching, otherwise they will remain neutral this turn.

If an uncommitted noble, a score of 1,2,3, will have then join the faction approaching, a 4 will have them join the opposing faction and the 5 6, will remain neutral this turn.

So the game progresses.

A Multi-Player game

In a multi-player game two players are randomly selected to play Richard and Henry. Each then draws one of four cards, marked A, B, C or D, and declares the card. At that point Richard and Henry, accompanied by a unit of mounted knights, arrive on the table edge as marked on the graphic and raise their standard. 

The mercenary units are placed in the same way as in the two player game.

Once the rival standards are raised the players declare their loyalty. To do this they each draw one of the cards mentioned above. Staring with the player with the A card and then working sequentially through to D, each player declares whether he is for Richard, Henry or is neutral. 

And so the game develops, until one side concedes defeat or if Richard or Henry are captured or killed.

Mercenaries that are approached by a messenger or noble (within 200mm) will roll 1xD6 and a score of 4,5,6 will have them join the faction approaching, otherwise will remain neutral this turn.


There is no requirement for players to remain aligned to one side for any length of time, and may change sides at will. 

Similarly no one needs to respect a noble’s neutrality and neutral nobles can be attacked by any faction. Neutral mercenaries, however cannot be attacked.

Monday, 20 July 2015

1914 WWI Game

Yesterday we played a WWI game. Set in 1914, the scenario saw a Belgian infantry company, supported by a HMG, a platoon of guides and a single Minerva armoured car, retreating in the face of a German advance. As the Belgians entered a village a small German force consisting of an infantry company, a platoon of uhlans and a platoon of jäger cyclists and their accompanying HMG managed to get across their line of retreat. The Belgians took position in the village and it was not long before another two German infantry companies, four HMGs and a battery of field guns appeared.

Above and below, the Belgians occupy the village

By sheer chance two reconnaissance forces, one British and the other French, each of an infantry company, a platoon of cavalry, a section of artillery and several HMGs were intending to use the same route as the Belgians, and arrived just as the Germans appeared.

The game began with the British cavalry dashing up the road and dismounting along a hedge row near a stream, with their HMG in close support. The French then commenced what was going to be a long march across the open fields. 

The British cavalry advance

The French advance

To counter the British move the German intercepting force took positions. The uhlans dashed forward and dismounted opposite the British troopers, within rifle range, while jägers and their HMG took a position a little to the right. The infantry company deployed a little to the rear and waited to see how the action developed. Meanwhile the main German force began an advance on the village with the HMGs and the battery covering the infantry.

The jägers and their MG take position

The Germans soon found that the Belgians were not going to be easily moved from the village and an initial attempt to push them aside were met by heavy rifle and HMG file, although the Belgian HMG team was soon taken out of action by two German HMGs. The Germans needed to get their guns into action, but they struggled to find the range.

Above and below, the initial German advance on the village

On the British front the uhlans and jägers got the better of the British troopers and after a short fire fight drove them off. But the leading British infantry and French artillery soon took their toll on the jägers and they were dispersed shortly afterwards. The Uhlans suffered equally and the defence against the British and French was going to fall to the supporting infantry company. One platoon occupied a house in the village at the centre of the table, while the other two took post below the crests of the hills.

The French Artillery

The first British infantry in action

The French command try to figure out where they are

Meanwhile the German main force, seeing the error of its initial deployment, moved to swing past the village while the artillery and the HMGs attempted to pin down the Belgians. The Belgian armoured car drove up and down the roads firing its MG whenever the opportunity arose.

The German movement around the Belgians

That Minerva armoured car

As the afternoon wore on the French command completed it long advance and approached the Germans holding position below the crest of the hills, while the British artillery began to find the range of the Germans there. The Germans were significantly outnumbered here and as the losses from British gunfire began to mount the Germans fell back from their position in the hope that the French might be tempted to forward across the crest where they would be caught in a crossfire.

Belgian Infantry advancing, with that armoured car in the backgroound

The Germans were in trouble now, more than a third of their units had fallen apart and another third were in bad way. The Belgians were hanging on to the village by doggedly and the British, although they had a bit of a setback against a flanking German force, stabilised and began to apply real pressure on the beleaguered German intervening company. One platoon, struck by heavy artillery, MG and rifle fire disintegrated. A second platoon assisted in an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge a Belgian platoon from a small wood, but was then pinned down in the open. When the French dragoons, that had been waiting all day for the opportunity to strike, charged, the German platoon fled directly into the fire of the Belgians in the wood and was destroyed.

The French dragoons prepare to charge

The German platoon in the house held out for another couple of turns before they were surrounded and forced to surrender. The other Germans, badly battered withdrew and left the Allies in control of the field. The Belgian force, the smallest on the field, proved to be the most effective - having been engaged all day they had lost only one infantry platoon and their HMG. The Germans effectively lost two of their three companies.

British infantry advancing

It was a great game that retained its excitement right to the very end.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Free Russo-Japanese War Flag Sets

Below is a series of Russo-Japanese War flags that I drew up when creating the RJW armies. Like the ACW flag sets posted here last month these are posted here free of charge. They are drawn in a vector based software package and rendered as high resolution (300ppi) .png files. Also like the ACW flags, the Russian flags are drawn to a 30mm x 30mm size but depending on the software application you open them in, they may require resizing.

Russian Flags

The Russian flags represent the regimental standards issued from the 1880s onwards. There are two patterns, those of the Christian regiments, with the face of Christ on the obverse face, and a royal cypher on the reverse, while those of the non-Christian regiments have the Imperial Eagle on the obverse and the cypher on the reverse. Those issued prior to 1900 bear the cypher "A" for Alexander III's, and those post 1900 have the "N" cypher of Nicolas II.

The flags are then sorted by regimental colour. Within each division the regimental colours are: 

1st Regiment - Red border and detailing
2nd Regiment -Blue border and detailing
3rd Regiment - White and red detailing
4th Regiment - Green border and detailing

The Christian Regiments 
The non-Christian Regiments 
Japanese Flags

The Japanese flags bore the regimental name in the white canton on the lower section of the flag, nearest the pole. When drawn they were scaled 30mm on the fly.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Another War of Spanish Succession Game

Today we fought our second WSS game in a month. We had a few more units on the table this time;  a couple of my new Bavarian cuirassiers and two or three new Austrian infantry battalions.

"I said DON'T roll a 1!"...after the opening salvo from the guns that failed to hit its mark.

On our side, the Franco-Bavarians that is, the Bavarians held the left, the French held the centre and the Spanish held the right. Facing the Bavarians were the English. Next to them, occupying a village, were the Austrians and then opposite the Spanish stood the Dutch and Danish.

A grand view of the table from the Anglo-Dutch right flank

As usual in these games the first action came by way of the cavalry. The Danish cuirassiers charged the two regiments of Spanish cavalry. The Spanish  troopers  stood their ground, halted the Danes with pistol fire, then drove them off and broke through onto another regiment of Danish horse, driving them off too. 

The Spanish horse fight off the Danes

Desperately needing to maintain the momentum the Spanish cavalry pressed on to engage a battalion of Dutch infantry that the Danes had burst through. But here the Spanish cavalry ran out of luck and the Dutch repulsed them with heavy losses.

The unsuccessful attack of the Spanish horse on the Dutch infantry 

On the opposite flank the Bavarian and English cavalry faced off.

A grim looking bunch of English horse

The English cavalry struggled at first to manoeuvre around a wood, but finally formed up with three regiments of horse abreast and charged forward against the Bavarian cuirassiers. In the resulting combat the English cavalry fought indifferently. The centre regiment beat the Bavarians, drove them back and then fell on them as they retreated dispersing the cuirassiers to the wind. But of the other two regiments one was beaten off while the other was held. 

The English horse ready to charge

The Bavarian cuirassiers preparing to recieve the attack

The next turn the Bavarian dragoons, in the second line, turned on the English cavalry that had destroyed the Bavarian cuirassiers, catching them in the flank and drove them from the field, while the Bavarian cuirassiers that held the previous turn drove off the English horse.

Meanwhile the Bavarian Lieb battalions edged forward and drew the English line forward. The last regiment of Bavarian cuirassiers dashed forward against the exposed flank of the English line only to be halted short of their target by the fire of the English dragoons in a small wood. 

The repulse of the Bavarian cuirassiers (on the left of the picture)

But the action distracted the English enough for the Bavarian Lieb battalions to launch an attack. The Kurprinz Battalion marched boldly forward and took the fire from the English. 

Kurprinz presses forward

Four casualties would stop the attack and the English scored a total of seven hits. When the Bavarians rolled for saves, needed to a 4 or more to save, they rolled five saves!

THAT saving throw!

The English line was then driven back through their supports. The Kurprinz battalion pressed on catching the disrupted second battalion of English infantry, driving them back too. 

Here the Bavarians ran out of steam. While the Bavarians  paused the remounted English dragoons slammed into their flank and scattered Kurprinz and the nearby Lieb Grenediers. The dragoons, however, soon found themselves halted in the face of two fresh Bavarians battalions that opened fire and scattered the troopers.

A second Bavarian infantry attack, a little to the right, also met with success, driving back the two English battalions there too, while still further to the right three French battalions pushed back a third group of English infantry.

The second Bavarian attack rolls forward, with the French attack in the background.

On the right the Spanish infantry took the fight to the Dutch infantry and drove the Dutch back, but failed to break them. 

The Spanish prepare to advance

As a result of these attack the English and Dutch commands were badly knocked about and the Austrians, that has spent all day swanning around in a village in the centre, were compelled to come to the aid of the Dutch. 

As the day was drawing to an end the English cavalry launched a final assault on the Bavarians, but were repelled by pistol fire. 

The final English cavalry charge

The battle ended with the British and Dutch in tatters, holding on by the skin of their teeth. The Spanish were in an equally awkward situation, while the Bavarians were holding their own. The French still had five regiments of cavalry and five battalions uncommitted. 

"Cheer up, mon cher général, we have won the day!"

The game lasted about five hours and involved six players with a total of seventy units in play. The homegrown rules worked brilliantly and caught the flavour of the period well.