Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Some further thoughts on adapting the rules for mid-20th century warfare

I had hoped that at some time today I would be able to play-test my adaptation of the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules for warfare in the mid-20th century. However the virus I have now had for over a week and the need to prepare for this evening’s festivities have not made that possible. It has, however, given me time to think about what Stand Points Values to give each stand and the weapon ranges I will use.

I intend to allocate Stand Points Values as follows:
  • 1 point: Poor General and Militia Infantry
  • 2 points: Average General, Light Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Conscript Infantry, and Artillery
  • 3 points: Exceptional General, Medium Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Cavalry, and Regular Infantry
  • 4 points: Heavy Armoured Fighting Vehicles and Elite Infantry
I intend to use the following weapon ranges:
  • Infantry Weapons: 2 hexes
  • Armoured Fighting Vehicle Weapons and Anti-tank Artillery: 4 hexes
  • Artillery: 6 hexes
With any luck I should be able to try these ideas out in a play-test tomorrow.

- o 0 o -
After adding this entry to my blog I realised that it was actually the 50th entry I have made since I started ... and I managed to add it on the last day of 2008!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Hexon II - Just how much do I own?

As will be obvious from my previous blog entries, I like to use a gridded tabletop in my wargames. I was sold on the idea when I bought my first box of Hexon II some years ago, and since then I have bought more as and when I could afford it (or I could persuade my wife to buy it for me for Christmas and/or my birthday).

Because I am beginning to recover from the virus I have had over Christmas I thought that it would be a good time to sit down and take stock of what Hexon II terrain I own. It also gave me the opportunity to sort it into the IKEA storage boxes I bought some time ago to store it in. I expected that the whole exercise would take me an hour or so … and now – some four hours later – I have a complete list of every bit of Hexon II terrain that I own and it is safely stored in its own fully labelled storage boxes.

What surprised me was the sheer amount that I own. Besides enough basic terrain tiles to cover an area 15’ x 4’ (a box will cover 3’ x 4’ and I have a box each of the Green, Green/Brown, Desert, Desert Transitional, and Blue terrain tiles) I have 19 mountains and rocky outcrops, 28 hills and escarpments, and several feet of streams, rivers, and roads. I also have a trench system and a variety of fortifications.

This stocktaking exercise has convinced me that I must concentrate on developing the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules so that I can use them with my Hexon II terrain.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Christmas is over ... but the virus remains!

As usual I spent this Christmas at the 'Le Strange Arms Hotel', Old Hunstanton, Norfolk. It is a wonderful hotel with a lot of character, an excellent staff, and more food available than you could ever eat!

Unfortunately my wife and I also succumbed to the virus that is currently laying so many people low in the UK, and this is lingering on now that we have returned home. One effect of this virus is a total lack of physical and mental energy. I just cannot concentrate on anything. This is a great pity as my wife bought me the latest publication by FOUNDRY PUBLICATIONS and I was looking forward to reading it.

The book is ARMIES OF THE 19th CENTURY: THE AMERICAS 1: THE PARAGUAYAN WAR by Terry Hooker. It contains background information about the war, a detailed history of the war, and extensive information about the armies and uniforms of the protagonists. I am sure that it will give me lots of ideas for new wargame armies to collect and battles to fight.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Some thoughts on adapting the rules for mid-20th century warfare

During lulls in the preparations for Christmas I have been thinking about what modifications I will need to make to the basic TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules so that they are suitable for recreating mid-20th century battles.

The rules as published do have a section dedicated to minor changes so that science fiction wargames can be fought, and these include data and rules for armoured vehicles. These have helped me to formulate my ideas.

One thing that is not covered is the use of transport to carry infantry into battle or to tow artillery. I have therefore come up with the following rules that I hope will cover this:

  • With the exception of Transport stands that are carrying or towing another stand, only one stand is allowed to occupy a square even if there is room for additional stands to be placed in the square.
  • Motorised Transport and Armoured Fighting Vehicle stands may carry a General or an Infantry stand, but the stand that is being carried may not fire or take part in Hand-to-Hand combat during any turn that it is being carried. When the carried stand dismounts it must dismount into a vacant square to the side or rear of the stand that has carried it. Likewise, when a General or an Infantry stand mounts a Motorised Transport or Armoured Fighting Vehicle stand it may only mount from a square to the side or rear of the stand that will carry it.
  • Horse-drawn and Motorised Transport stands may tow an Artillery Stand, but the stand that is being towed may not fire or take part in Hand-to-Hand combat during any turn that it is being towed. When the towed stand is unlimbered it must unlimbered into a vacant square to the rear of the stand that has towed it. Likewise, when an Artillery stand is limbered to a Transport stand it may only be limbered from a square to the rear of the stand that will tow it.
Once the Christmas break is past I hope to have the opportunity to try these rules out in with a play-test.

Monday, 22 December 2008

The Battle of Tebourba

On Sunday 21st December I took part in a multi-player game that refought the first two days of this battle. The game was organised by Ian Drury (who also provided all the terrain, models, and briefings as well as writing the rules) and the venue was provided by Alex Kleanthous.

The original battle took place in Tunisia from 29th November to 4th December 1942 when the Germans mounted an attack on British and American forces in and around the area. After fierce fighting the Germans finally took the town on 4th December.

The game went well and produced a reasonably realistic result. The Germans were beginning to prevail as the game came to an end, but the British and Americans had acquitted themselves quite well. My own role - commander of the American armour - resulted in a 'death ride' by a battalion of Stuart tanks against a large number of Panzer IIIs. My battalion was wiped out, but did manage to hold the German advance up for several vital moves.

I don't have any images of the actual game - I was far too engrossed to think about using my camera - but I did take some pre-game pictures that show the basic terrain and some of the Allied forces in place.

Terrain

The terrain used was created using HEXON II. The green areas were areas of cultivation in which troops had restricted visibility.

Images from the wargame

The image above shows the British and American artillery astride the main supply route for the forces in and around Tebourba.

The image above shows a battalion of American Stuart tanks, supported by a company of Shermans. The Stuarts were destroyed holding up the main German armoured thrust and all but one of the Shermans shared their fate.

The two images above show the centre of the Allied defences.

The two images above show two of the three British infantry battalions deployed around Tebourba in defensive positions.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Play-test - Land Battles (on hexes)

I wrote in an earlier bog entry that the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules looked like they could be adapted for use with hexes without a great deal of problem. I have a lot of HEXON II and HEROSCAPE hexes and it seems a waste not to use them.

In the following play-test I decided to use the same scenario as I used for my first play-test of the rules, and I recreated the terrain using HEROSCAPE hexes. The resulting tabletop was a bit thinner than the squared grid version, but otherwise it was basically the same.

I then placed the figures in the same starting positions.

The following report on the play-test is not as detailed as the previous one as I saw no need to repeat an explanation of the rules mechanisms used.

Turn 1

The Mahdists had the initiative during this turn.

The Mahdists chose not to move, and the Egyptian Lancers units charged towards the line of Hadendowa Infantry units that was between the Egyptian column and its objective. The rest of the Egyptian force followed at a more sedate pace.

Turn 2

The Egyptians had the initiative during this turn.

The Egyptian Lancer units hit the right-hand end of the line of Hadendowa Infantry units. The Egyptian Artillery unit moved forward and deployed to the left of the Egyptian column so that it could fire at the left-hand end of the line of Hadendowa Infantry units. The rest of the Egyptian column continued its advance towards it objective.

The Hadendowa Infantry units chose not to attempt to avoid Hand-to-Hand combat with the Egyptian Lancers. The rest of the Mahdist force did not move and remained hidden from view from the Egyptians.

The Hand-to-Hand combat between the Egyptian Lancers and the Hadendowa Infantry was fierce, and resulted in the destruction of the right-hand front unit of Hadendowa Infantry. However, everything did not go well for the Egyptians and their left-hand unit of Lancers was forced to withdraw.

Turn 3

The Mahdists had initiative during this turn.

Seeing one of the Egyptian Lancer units fall back, the Hadendowa Infantry swarmed forward. The Mahdist Cavalry units moved towards the bottom end of the hill they were behind and the Jihadia Infantry units moved onto the hill they had been hiding behind.

The Egyptian Lancer units attempted to avoid further Hand-to-Hand combat, but failed. The rest of the Egyptian force advanced and shook itself into line to meet and engage the Hadendowa Infantry units.

The leading Jihadia Infantry unit opened fire on the Egyptian Artillery unit ... and wiped it out. The leading Egyptian Infantry units engaged the foremost Hadendowa Infantry units, and forced one of the to withdraw.

The Hand-to-Hand fighting between the Egyptian Lancer units and the right-hand Hadendowa Infantry units resulted in the destruction of one of the Hadendowa Infantry units. One of the Egyptian Lancer units was, however, forced to withdraw.

Turn 4

The Mahdists had initiative during this turn.

Seeing that there was an opportunity to destroy the Egyptian column, the Hadendowa Infantry units surged forward. The Mahdist Cavalry units swept around the bottom end of the hill they had been behind - thus threatening the rear of the Egyptian force - and the Jihadia Infantry units began lining the hill they were on with the intention of firing down on to the Egyptians.

The Egyptian Lancer units again failed to avoid Hand-to-Hand combat with the Hadendowa Infantry. The rest of the Egyptian column tried to form itself into a defensive formation to meet the threats posed by the Jihadia Infantry and Mahdist cavalry units.

Both sides opened fire on each other, but luck was against the Egyptians. Rifle fire from the Jihadia Infantry units cut down two of the Egyptian Infantry units before they could inflict any casualties on their Mahdist opponents. At the same time, the Egyptian Infantry unit that was engaging the advancing Mahdist cavalry failed to stop them.

The Hand-to-Hand combat also went badly for the Egyptians, and one of the Lancer units was wiped out.

Turn 5

The Egyptians had initiative during this turn.

A sensible commander facing a conventional opponent would - at this stage of the battle - have capitulated. However, the Egyptian General knew that he and his men would receive no mercy at the hands of the Mahdists. He therefore attempted to break of action and retreat.

The Mahdists, seeing their enemy falling back, fell on them with a vengeance.

The Egyptians fired a volley at the Mahdists, but caused no casualties. The Jihadia were, however, much more effective and killed both the General and one of the Egyptian Infantry units. The rest of the fighting was then down to bayonet against spear, and the resulting Hand-to-Hand combat saw the Egyptians wiped out.

Conclusions

It is very easy to use hexes in place of squares, but ...

... although the terrain looks fine (it could do with being repainted so as to 'lose' the brown edging to each hex) the 'look' of the battle is somehow not quite right. I suspect it is the fact that colonial armies tended to fight in very linear formations (lines and squares) and that these cannot be created easily on a hexes. The less formal formations used by many native armies probably look no better or no worse on hexes than they do on a squares, but somehow this battle did not quite look right.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that for battles from the pre-20th century period fought using the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules, squares are superior. However the more fluid formations used by armies during the mid to late 20th century should look all right on hexes. My next play-test will, therefore, be an attempt to see if the rules can be used for 20th century battles.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Jigwar terrain boards

Having painted and prepared two sets of Jigwar terrain boards for the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules, I contacted ESSEX MINIATURES (the original manufacturers) to see if they had any Jigwar terrain boards left in stock.

The product had sold quite well when it was introduced but due to technical problems with the manufacturing process it was withdrawn some years ago. Unfortunately I was too late to buy the remaining stock of terrain boards - they sold the last stock three months ago.

I have a few unpainted and unmarked Jigwar terrain boards left, but a few spares would have been nice.

C'est la vie!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Comments

Please note that I have now changed my settings so that any comments have to be moderated.

I have done this because it is the only way I can find to make sure that I don't miss a comment made by a visitor. It also means that I can ensure that I reply to comments that visitors have taken time and effort to make.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Joseph Morschauser - Images of some of his games

The following two images of wargames played on a gridded tabletop are from Joseph Morschauser's HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE.

The original caption reads as follows: Will the fort fall? The war gamers who fought this battle used 54mm figures mounted on 4" trays with various numbers of figures on each tray. In the foreground is the "Great Wall of Morobad" plaster cast.

The original caption reads as follows: A thin red line of British soldiers prepares to meet the assault. The figures include Somerset Light Infantrymen and cannon made by Britains in 54mm.

The following three images of wargames played by Joseph Morschauser on a gridded tabletop are from Donald Featherstone's ADVANCED WAR GAMES.

The original caption for these photos reads as follows: Gridded war-games tables - set out by American war-gamer Joseph Morschauser.

Joseph Morschauser - An early pioneer

As a result of some of the comments made on the OLD SCHOOL WARGAMING group, I rummaged through the pile of storage boxes in my wargames room and found my copy of Joseph Morschauser's HOW TO PLAY WAR GAMES IN MINIATURE.

The book was published in the same year as Donald Featherstone's WAR GAMES. It contains three sets of rules (for what he terms the Shock Period, the Musket Period, and the Modern Period) and proposes the use of multi-figure bases to make up units (something Donald Featherstone's book did not) and the use of what Morschauser calls 'The Roster System'. The latter was a means of recording casualties on units without removing the a base until a certain number of 'hits' had been inflicted on the unit.

Now none of this sounds new to wargamers now, but at the time this was very revolutionary stuff. This was certainly the first time that I had ever seen in print the idea of multi-figure bases making up units and individual figures not being removed after a 'hit' had been inflicted.

It is also interesting how your memory can play tricks on you. I remember photos of Morschauser's games showing a gridded playing surface, and therefore thought that the rules featured in his book used a grid. On re-reading the rules, I discovered that I was wrong. They do not use a grid; they use pre-cut measuring sticks and bits of string (the latter for movement that is not in a straight line). That said, two of the photos in the book show 54mm figures - mounted on multi-figure bases - on a gridded tabletop.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Play-test - Land Battles

This play-test was played solo so that I could try out the various game mechanisms used in the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules. I chose a colonial setting as I already had suitably based figures for the Sudan Campaign.

Scenario

An Egyptian Army column, led by a British officer, is marching through the Sudanese desert towards an oasis. They are not expecting to face any Mahdist forces, but are nonetheless vary. The Egyptian force includes 2 units of Lancers, 4 units of Infantry, a unit of Artillery, and a General (rated as ‘Poor’ and therefore with a points value of 1).

Mahdists have in fact moved into the area and plan to ambush the Egyptians before they can reach the oasis. They hope to entice the Egyptians into a trap, surround them, and then wipe them out. The Mahdist force includes 4 units of Cavalry, 4 units of Jihadia Infantry (armed with rifles), 8 units of Hadendowa Infantry (armed with swords and spears), a unit of Artillery, and an Emir (General, rated as ‘Average’ and therefore with a points value of 2).

The Mahdist Emir has deployed his Hadendowa Infantry in full view of the Egyptians in the hope that the latter will advance towards the tribesmen with the intention of sweeping them aside in order to reach the oasis. The rest of the Mahdist force is hidden behind rocky outcrops to either side of the Egyptian line-of-march.

Turn 1

Both sides throw a D12 to determine who will have the initiative. The Egyptians throw 1 and the Mahdists throw 10; therefore the Mahdists have the initiative and can move and fire first. They also add 1 to all D12 scores.

The Mahdists choose not to move, and the Egyptian Cavalry charge forward, followed by the rest of the Egyptian column.

No units are in range of each other and the turn ends.

Turn 2

Both sides throw a D12 to determine who will have the initiative. The Egyptians throw 3 and the Mahdists throw 4; therefore the Mahdists have the initiative and can move and fire first. They also add 1 to all D12 scores.

The Hadendowa Infantry units advance into contact with the Egyptian Lancer units. None of the other Mahdist troops move.

The Egyptian column moves forward to support the Lancers.

No units can fire at each other so any Hand-to-Hand combat takes place.

The Egyptian Lancer units choose not to attempt to avoid the prospect of Hand-to-Hand combat (they could have done so because they are Light Cavalry) and are attacked by the front rank of Hadendowa Infantry units. Each unit of Hadendowa Infantry (which are Light Infantry and have a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. Both units of Egyptian Lancers (which are Light Cavalry and have a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square. They do not qualify for the plus 3 which Cavalry attacking Infantry in flat, open country get because they are being attacked and are not attacking. The results are as follows (from left to right):

  • Hadendowa Infantry unit 1: 5 + 2 + 3 + 1 = 11
  • Egyptian Lancer unit 1: 2 + 2 +1 = 5
The Egyptian Lancer unit’s score is less than half the Hadendowa Infantry unit’s score. The Egyptian Lancer unit is destroyed.

  • Hadendowa Infantry unit 2: 7 + 2 + 5 + 1 = 15
  • Egyptian Lancers unit 2: 12 + 2 = 14
The Egyptian Lancer unit’s score is less than the Hadendowa Infantry unit’s score but not less than half of the Hadendowa Infantry unit’s score. The Egyptian Lancer unit must withdraw.

Turn 3

Both sides throw a D12 to determine who will have the initiative. The Egyptians throw 7 and the Mahdists throw 3; therefore the Egyptians have the initiative and can move and fire first. They also add 1 to all D12 scores.

The Egyptians now deploy to attack the Hadendowa Infantry on a broad front. The leading Egyptian Infantry units remain where they are. The remaining Egyptian Lancer unit moves to its right to protect the flank whilst the Artillery unit moves forward and to its left to join the front rank of the Egyptian force. The Egyptian General moves to his left so as to command the centre of the Egyptian front rank. The remaining Egyptian Infantry units move forward and to their right so as to support the Egyptian front line.

The Hadendowa Infantry move backwards out of range of everything but the Egyptian Artillery unit.

The Egyptian Artillery unit fires at the Hadendowa Infantry unit that is directly in front of it. The Egyptian Artillery (which has a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for having a ‘Poor’ General in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Hadendowa Infantry unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square. The results are:

  • Egyptian Artillery unit: 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 8
  • Hadendowa Infantry unit: 2 + 2 + 3 = 7
The Hadendowa Infantry unit’s score is less than the Egyptian Artillery unit’s score but not less than half of the Egyptian Artillery unit’s score. The Hadendowa Infantry unit must withdraw.

Turn 4

Both sides throw a D12 to determine who will have the initiative. The Egyptians throw 9 and the Mahdists throw 3; therefore the Egyptians have the initiative and can move and fire first. They also add 1 to all D12 scores.

The Egyptian force moves forward together.

The Hadendowa Infantry move backwards to keep themselves out of range of everything but the Egyptian Artillery unit. The Mahdist Cavalry units move forward and engage the Egyptian Lancer unit and the right-hand rear Egyptian Infantry unit. The Mahdist Artillery unit moves forward so that it can fire at the Egyptian Artillery unit, and the Mahdist Emir moves behind the Mahdist Artillery unit to give it support.

The Egyptian Artillery unit fires at the Mahdist Artillery unit. The Egyptian Artillery (which has a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for having a ‘Poor’ General in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Mahdist Artillery unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 2 for having an ‘Average’ General in an adjacent square. The results are:

  • Egyptian Artillery unit: 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 7
  • Mahdist Artillery unit: 8 + 2 = 10
Because the Egyptian Artillery unit’s score is lower than the Mahdist Artillery unit’s score the fire is ineffective.

The right-hand rear Egyptian Infantry unit turns and fires at the foremost Mahdist Cavalry unit that has appeared on its flank. The Egyptian Infantry unit (which has a points value of 2) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Mahdist Cavalry unit (which has a points value of 2) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square. The results are:

  • Egyptian Infantry unit: 4 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 8
  • Mahdist Cavalry unit: 7 + 1 = 8
The scores are equal so both throw a D12 again. The unit with the highest score will force the enemy unit to withdraw. The Egyptian Infantry unit adds 1 for having the initiative.

  • Egyptian Infantry unit: 7 + 1 = 8
  • Mahdist Cavalry unit: 2 = 2
The Mahdist Cavalry must withdraw. In this case it must withdraw 3 squares to comply with the rules.

The Mahdist Artillery unit fires at the Egyptian Artillery unit. The Mahdist Artillery unit (which has a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 2 for having an ‘Average’ General in an adjacent square. The Egyptian Artillery unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for having an ‘Poor’ General in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The results are:

  • Mahdist Artillery unit: 4 + 2 = 6
  • Egyptian Artillery unit: 9 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 13
Because the Mahdist Artillery unit’s score is lower than the Egyptian Artillery unit’s score the fire is ineffective.

No further units can fire at each other so any Hand-to-Hand combat takes place.

The Egyptian Lancer unit chooses to attempt to avoid the prospect of Hand-to-Hand combat (they can do so because they are Light Cavalry) and throw a D12. The score of 3 allows them to withdraw from contact with the Mahdist Cavalry unit, thus avoiding Hand-to-Hand combat.

Turn 5

Both sides throw a D12 to determine who will have the initiative. The Egyptians throw 2 and the Mahdists throw 8; therefore the Mahdists have the initiative and can move and fire first. They also add 1 to all D12 scores.

The Hadendowa Infantry, the Mahdist Artillery, and the Mahdist Emir remain where they are. The Mahdist Cavalry move forward and again engage the Egyptian Lancer unit and the right-hand rear Egyptian Infantry unit. The Jihadia Infantry units also move forward so that they can fire at the advancing Egyptians.

Knowing that they have to reach to oasis in order to get water, the Egyptians decide not to move out of the trap they have sprung and to fight where they are.

The leading Jihadia Infantry unit fires at the Egyptian Artillery unit. The Jihadia Infantry unit (which has a points value of 2) throws a D12 and adds its points values plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Egyptian Artillery unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for having a ‘Poor’ General in an adjacent square. The results are:

  • Jihadia Infantry unit: 8 + 2 + 1 + 1 = 12
  • Egyptian Artillery unit: 2 + 2 + 1 = 5
The Egyptian Artillery unit’s score is less than half the Jihadia Infantry unit’s score. The Egyptian Artillery unit is destroyed.

The Mahdist Artillery unit fires at the left-hand front Egyptian Infantry unit. The Mahdist Artillery unit (which has a points value of 2 points) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 2 for having an ‘Average’ General in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Egyptian Infantry unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for having a ‘Poor’ General in an adjacent square plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square. The results are:

  • Mahdist Artillery unit: 11 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 16
  • Egyptian Infantry unit: 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 7
The Egyptian Infantry unit’s score is less than half the Mahdist Artillery unit’s score. The Egyptian Infantry unit is destroyed.

The right-hand rear Egyptian Infantry unit turns and fires at the Mahdist Cavalry unit that is directly in front of it. The Egyptian Infantry unit (which has a points value of 2) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square. The Mahdist Cavalry unit (which has a points value of 2) throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The results are:

  • Egyptian Infantry unit: 6 + 2 + 2 = 10
  • Mahdist Cavalry unit: 12 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 17
Because the Egyptian Infantry unit’s score is lower than the Mahdist Cavalry unit’s score the fire is ineffective.

No further units can fire at each other so any Hand-to-Hand combat takes place.

The Egyptian Lancer unit chooses not to attempt to avoid the prospect of Hand-to-Hand combat (they could have done so because they are Light Cavalry) and are attacked by the Mahdist Cavalry unit that is directly in front of it. The Mahdist Cavalry unit throws a D12 and adds its points value plus 1 for each friendly stand of the same type in an adjacent square and plus 1 for having the initiative. The Egyptian Lancer unit throws a D12 and adds its points value. The results are:

  • Mahdist Cavalry unit: 9 + 2 + 2 + 1 = 14
  • Egyptian Lancer unit: 2 + 2 = 4
The Egyptian Lancer unit’s score is less than half the Mahdist Cavalry unit’s score. The Egyptian Lancer unit is destroyed.

At this point it became obvious that the Egyptians were not going to achieve their objective and they conceded defeat.

I could have played further turns, but as this was a play-test rather than a battle in a campaign there seemed little point, particularly as I wanted to add a report of the play-test to my blog as soon as possible.

Conclusions

The game took less than an hour of game time to play through, although the actual time taken was much longer because I wanted to take photographs and to write up each move after it had happened. The rules feel somewhat like DBA but because of the gridded tabletop there are none of the problems associated with having to measure movement and weapon ranges.

As I was fighting the play-test battle it struck me that there were ways in which the rules could be used for other historical periods and scenarios. For example, the gridded tabletop is ideally suited for modern infantry-heavy battles in built-up areas, with each square representing a building or block.

It also struck me that the rules could easily be adapted for use with a hexed rather than a squared tabletop, and as I have a lot of hex terrain made by HEROSCAPE (which is 4cm from side to side) and HEXON II (which is 10cm from side to side) I may well experiment with either or both in the near future.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Plasticard Ships

Having seen the recent model ships featured on the JUST ROLL SIXES website I have decided to share some images of ships that I have built over the years for use with 15mm figures. Most - those for use with my colonial figures - are still unpainted or unfinished but the last - a Japanese aircraft carrier - has been finished in medium grey.

The following image shows a couple of pre-dreadnought battleships. The design is based on the ADMIRAL class.

The figure is a 15mm Essex officer and the squares are 10cm x 10cm. They gives some idea how big the models are.

The following image is of an as yet unfinished World War I light cruiser. It needs another main gun to be added at the stern as well as needing a few extra details (e.g. secondary armament, masts etc.).

The following image is of an as yet unfinished World War I gunboat. It originally had two guns, but one was damaged when the model was knocked onto the floor. It also needs a mast.

The final model is a generic Japanese aircraft carrier. The aircraft is a Corgi 1:100th scale Sopwith Camel, and this shows how big the model is - just over 60cm.

Table Top Battles - Second set of Jigwar terrain boards finished

I have now finished my second set of Jigwar terrain boards. All I need to do to use them is to make some suitable ship models.

In the meantime I hope to try out the land warfare rules this weekend using some of my 15mm Sudan Campaign figures. The battle will probably be a scenario based around the destruction of the Egyptian army led by General Hicks. This took place before General Gordon's arrival in the Sudan for the second time, and is featured at the beginning of the film KHARTOUM.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Table Top Battles - Second set of Jigwar terrain boards started

I have now finished my first set of Jigwar terrain boards. They have been given a coat of gloss polyurethane varnish to protect the surface of the terrain board and then a coat of matt varnish to deaden the glossiness.

As can be seen from the images on my previous blog entries, these are finished in a stone/brown colour so that I can use them for TABLE TOP BATTLES set in the Sudan.

I have now begun work on the second set. These will be for naval battles, and will be painted in blue acrylic emulsion paint (again from Homebase), marked with 10 cm x 10 cm squares and gloss varnished. These terrain boards will then be given a coat of satin varnish to deaden the glossiness.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Table Top Battles - First set of Jigwar terrain boards finished

These images show some of the first Jigwar terrain boards that I have painted and marked for use with the TABLE TOP BATTLES wargames rules.

The first set are for use with my existing Sudan Campaign figures, and are painted with an acrylic emulsion paint from Homebase. The lines were marked on with a permanent OHP marker pen.

The following image shows two Jigwar terrain boards 'clipped' together.

All the terrain boards now need is a coat of matt varnish to protect the painted surface and then they will be ready to use.

Nugget 222

I posted the latest issue of THE NUGGET (N222) this afternoon, and it should be with members by early next week.

The PDF version is now available online via the Wargame Developments website. All members should now have received the password they need to read the PDF, but if they have lost it or cannot remember it they should contact me.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Nugget 222

I hope to get the printed version of THE NUGGET (N222) out in the post later this week, and it should be with members early next week.

In the meantime I have uploaded the PDF versions of the latest issue of both THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website so that members (including e-members) can read it before the printed version arrives in the post.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Table Top Battles - Jigwar terrain boards

This is an image showing two different - and as yet unpainted - Jigwar terrain boards - a corner piece and a side piece.

This image shows the way in which the terrain boards fix together.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Table Top Battles - Making the Table Top

Now that I am committed to trying out these rules (with a few modifications because I can never leave anything alone!), I have begun to look around for something to make my gridded 'Table Top' from.

At first I thought of using a cloth, but I have found from bitter experience that trying to draw a grid on a cloth is not the easiest of things to do. I then looked around for some suitable wood, but a trip to my local DIY store soon showed me that:
  1. This was an expensive option
  2. It would produce a heavy playing board
  3. The resultant playing board would be difficult to store in what my wife calls my 'toy room' (i.e. my wargames room)

In the end I remembered that some years ago I bought some of the last remaining stock of Jigwar terrain boards from Essex Miniatures. These are 30cm x 30cm squares of 5mm thick plastic that were cut so that they clipped together (like a jigsaw puzzle). I still have a enough unpainted squares to make both a land and sea 'Table Top'.

The plastic is thick enough to be rigid, and light enough (and thin enough) to store easily. It will also 'take' acrylic paint very well. All I need to do is remove the protective film covering from the squares, clean them, give them a couple of coats of paint, make out the grid and ... voila ... I can try the rules in earnest.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Table Top Battles - A great impulse buy

I bought TABLE TOP BATTLES - TABLE TOP WARGAMING WITH MINIATURES (by Mike and Joyce Smith) at Warfare 2008 on an impulse ... and it was probably one of the best impulse buys I have ever made!

I am a great lover of small, simple games - particularly if they can be played solo - and this has all these qualities. The rules are very flexible and can be adapted for a variety of different periods, and can allow a series of battles to be fought in a matter of a few hours. They have also been developed over a long period of time, and although they are not 'rules lawyer' proof (no wargames rules ever are!), they do cover almost everything that one needs (including naval warfare, air warfare, and campaigns).

Having read these rules I can see me using them - with minor alterations - for all sorts of small wargames projects ... including my 1930s Lauranian campaign.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Warfare 2008

I have just got back from Warfare 2008, and it was well worth the 90 minute drive there (and 30 minutes trying to park!).

There were lots of traders, and I could have spent a lot on money ... but I was sensible and mostly bought what I planned or had thought about buying:
  • A box of Hexon II Desert terrain and related terrain features
  • Some vehicles from Minimi Miniatures
  • C S Grant's THE WAR GAME COMPANION (it has had some good reviews, and having seen it in on the Caliver Books stand I decided to buy it)
  • Stuart Asquith's WAR IN THE SUDAN 1884-1898 A CAMPAIGN GUIDE
The only impulse buy was TABLE TOP BATTLES - TABLE TOP WARGAMING WITH MINIATURES by Mike and Joyce Smith. This was also on the Caliver Books stand, and when I realised that it used a gridded playing surface I just had to have it.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Lauranian Air Force - Yet more problems!

I managed to get hold of some more of the same model aircraft for the planned Lauranian Air Force but I am still having problems when I try to undercoat them.

This time I used a spray can of acrylic undercoat from a manufacturer whose products I have used before. I cleaned the models by washing them in a mild solution of soapy water to make sure there was no oil or other residue on the surface, and when they were thoroughly dry I sprayed the top of the models. I then left the paint to dry before turning them over.

This time the plastic did not react with the paint ... but the paint that was already on the models had begun to crackle and bubble during the drying process. This suggests that the original paint is probably cellulose-based. It should not have reacted to the acrylic paint - which is fairly inert - but has done.

So it is back to the drawing board for a third attempt!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Trying a new method of painting figures - more images

The images on my previous entry were a bit too sepia in colour due to my use of artificial lighting, so I have replaced them with photographs taken using natural light. At the same time I took individual front and back photos of each of the figure poses.