Wednesday, 9 May 2012

An away game

Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit David Crook (of A WARGAMING ODYSSEY fame) to deliver some of my surplus wargaming stuff to him and – more importantly – to fight a wargame with him.

Many years ago David and I used to wargame in the cellar under Eric Knowles's shop 'New Model Army' in East London. We lost touch, but thanks to eBay we were reunited (I sold some stuff on eBay that David bought, and when I delivered it to him we both realised that we knew each other), and now we are both regular bloggers and email correspondents. (During yesterday's visit David reminded me that this was the first time we had faced each other across a wargames table since the late 1980s(!).)

David had set up a wargame in his 'man cave' (i.e. loft conversion) using his Hexon II terrain, two of his wonderful wooden block armies, and my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules.


The scenario is described in more detail on David's blog, but in essence it was set during the Russo-Turkish War and involved a larger Russian force trying to break through a line of Turkish fortifications.


After dicing for choice, I commanded the Turks and David was in command of the Russians.

The Turkish Cavalry in reserve behind the centre of the Turkish outer defences.
The masses of Russian Infantry prepare to advance. The Russian Artillery is sited atop a hill that gives them an excellent vantage point from which to fire at the Turks.
The Russian Infantry. There are lots of them, and all the Units are capable of sustaining considerable casualties before they become unbattleworthy.
The Turkish Artillery prepares to engage the Russians. Their fire proved quite devastating at times.
By the end of the battle all of the remaining Turkish Redif (Second-line Infantry) withdrew into the main line of defences.
The advancing Russians threaten the open flank of the Turkish defences. At this point the Russians are approaching their 'exhaustion level' and are unable to exploit their tactical advantage.
The Russian Artillery commands the now empty Turkish outer defences.
The Turks are withdrawing behind their next line of fortifications and begin preparations to meet – and counter – the next Russian assault.
The battle reached a realistic conclusion when both sides reached their 'exhaustion point' (one of David's modifications my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules that I intend to copy!) during the same turn. The Russians had achieved their breakthrough ... at great cost in terms of men ... and the Turks were still in behind their fortifications ... albeit that the Russians had broken through the outer ring of the fortifications.

All-in-all this was a most enjoyable battle and a very enjoyable day ... and I left with one of two ideas about how to improve both my MEMOIR OF BATTLE and MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE rules.

Thank you David – and your family – for allowing me the privilege of visiting your home and spending time with you!

18 comments:

  1. That looks a nice game - let's hope you don't leave it another 25 yaers 'till the rematch!

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  2. Hi Bob (and Tim),

    It was a great day and a thoroughly enjoyable battle and so many, many thanks Bob for making the trek out here and for the truly humongous amount of 'kit'!

    For the record it was actually either the very early 1980s or the late 1970s and so 30 years plus would be nearer the mark! It certainly will not be as long until the next game I hope!

    Very nice pictures Bob - I have a couple of my own and so will add them to my AAR on the blog later today.

    All the best and many thanks once again,

    DC

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  3. Those wooden blocks look great. The five strength infantry and three strength artillery look particularly dangerous.

    The use of unit strength in that way is interesting. I have to say I'm rather torn between the approach your two primary sets use with regard to strength. In the Morschauser a unit's combat effectiveness goes down as its strength goes down, which has a certain logic. But there's also something to be said for the Memoir system, where a unit fights at a fixed full strength regardless of how much 'strength' it has.

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  4. Also, I have tidied and written the first draft of my Mexican Revolution rules based on your Morschasuser Late 19th Century set. Thank you for the inspiration. See them HERE

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  5. Tim Gow,

    Hopefully it will be nowhere near as long before David and I fight another wargamer together ... especially as I would like him to come to COW in the not too distant future.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  6. David Crook,

    Thanks again for a great day! I enjoyed it far more than I can put into words.

    You are probably right about the date being closer to the end of the 1970s and early 1980s ... but what is a few years between frineds!

    I look forward to reading your blog entry later today.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  7. Kaptain Kobold,

    The wooden blocks have a nice feel to them, and are much better than - for example - using a cardboard counter.

    Like you I cannot quite make my mind up whether I prefer the Morschauser system or the Borg/C&C system; both have their advantages and disadvantages ... but I am tending towards favouring the latter rather than the former, especially for my current draft of MEMOIR OF MODERN BATTLE.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Kaptain Kobold,

    I like what you have done to modify the rules for the specific period of the Mexican Revolution. This is exactly what I hoped that people would do; to take my basic rules and develop them for their own particular needs and requirements.

    Good luck with this project.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. Sounds like a good outing. My prejudices are always surprised at how well the blocks look. I don't think they are at all inferior to small numbers of small figures.

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  10. Ross Mac,

    The blocks do look good. I suspect that part of their appeal is the very professional-looking graphics David Crook has used and the fact that they are being used for an era when troops were deployed in quite large 'blocks'. The blocks also look in scale with the scenery that has been used.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Glad to see that you old warriors got to cross swords again. And thegame looks stunning - the blocks on hexon really works. There's a 19th century Kriegspiel feel to it.
    Cheers
    PD

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  12. Peter Douglas,

    It was a long time between battles, but we hope to have another one soon.

    You are right; the blocks do have a Kriegsspiel feel to them, but with the advantage that they and the terrain are three-dimensional rather than two-dimensional.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  13. The funny thing is that I didn't really intend to do a Mexican Revolution set; I was just using that conflict as a test-bed for the rules so I can use them for a 'what if' project I have bubbling away at the back of my mind.

    Still, that can wait for another day :)

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  14. Kaptain Kobold,

    Wargaming is like that! One minute you are working on a project ... and the next you have started something new.

    Some years ago I devised a set of tabletop rules and a mini-campaign for a generic Central/South American Revolution. It was entitled RESTLESS REVOLUTIONARIES. A PDF copy of these rules can be found here.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  15. Those look really great, and I like the mini-campaign - very much on the lines of a HOTT/DBA linear campaign.

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  16. Kaptain Kobold,

    I hoped that you might find the rules and mini-campaign of interest. Please feel free to plunder them for ideas etc.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  17. Oh, I will. I'm an arch-plunderer :)

    I'm testing and writing up a South American Liberation campaign at the moment which started off as a linear one, but is now mapless. I'll be posting it properly on my blog once I've got a relatively stable version.

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  18. Kaptain Kobold,

    You wouldn't be a true wargamer if you didn't 'borrow' ideas from other wargamers!

    I look forward to reading more about your map-less campaign in due course.

    All the best,

    Bob

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