Irregular games last Friday

On Friday night I was able to head out to John’s for games night, and was joined by Chris, Terry, Paul and Jordan. That was good because it meant that we had even numbers to play with. We paired off with Terry and Chris playing Afrika Korps vs Kiwis and Paul and Jordan playing Afrika Korps vs British armour. John and I decided to have a game of Napoleonics using Black Powder, as we hadn’t played either of these things in several months.

The Battlefield looking down towards the French ourtflanking movement after Turn One – John has already turned his line to face the threat. Grrr!

John set his British up on a ridge in Spain somewhere, preparing for a French attack. I decided that it was folly to simply assault the ridge head on, and brought the French on in two wings. I would contest the church with the infantry and try to bust through the British cavalry and loop around behind the British infantry. Meanwhile I would take my other infantry brigade down the extreme flank to try and cross the river and upset his balance. It was a fine plan on paper, but was fouled up in the first turn when John rolled three moves for the brigade on his left and simply turned his line to face the river.

It was now not going to be a single head on fight anymore, but two separate head-on fights. Hoo-bloody-ray.

The British Line patiently waits while the French deploy to cross the river.

The attacks went slowly after that. John occupied the church before I could get there and the cavalry just eyed each other for far too long. I tried to bombard the Church to soften up the defenders prior to assault, but my attacking troops kept getting shot up. In the end the British came down off the ridge and drove the French infantry off. At the same time my cavalry finally wiped out the British cavalry, but it was too little too late.

Artillery pounds the church but little softening up is happening. After their first clash the cavalry rallies and prepares for the next round. 

On the other side of the table the French and British went tit for tat as John’s general suffered paralysis of command while the French crossed the river (we house ruled the river would take three turns to cross unless by bridge). In the end, though, the French Brigade simply lost too many battalions and broke before the Brits did. The French army was broken and the battle ended with the Brits victorious.

The French cross the stream slowly – but the British just sit and wait.

I have to say I had rotten luck with the dice, failing the break tests at the end of the game quite spectacularly with aq series of 3s and 4s. And John getting three moves with his left hand Brigade in the first turn was also a rotten piece of luck, but then ’twas ever thus in the Peninsula.

The motivation for this battle was to see what sort of game I will get when I have painted my Peninsular War armies – 8 battalions and 2 cavalry a side. I may have to work towards 12 battalions for each, as I felt that there just wasn’t really enough to play with in the end. I also think that the scenario would probably have benefited from some late arriving reserves.

On the other table battle raged in the North African Desert. The final verdict was a triumph for the Afrika Korps, but it was hard work. The British armour under Jordan fought literally to the last tank, and Chris was giving as good as he was getting for large parts of the game.

Chris’ Kiwis, already burning up.

Terry’s Afrika Korps. He hasn’t quite got around to putting together desert PaKs. The Infantry are a commission I did for him, using Command Decision figures. Their Afrika Korps are very nice and I enjoyed painting them.

Stukas say hello to some Portees. The objective is, of course, the only piece of grass in the Desert..

Above is an example of Paul’s resin dug-in markers. He sculpted the originals and then cast them in resin. They are perfect for Flames of War and can meet up to form a trench system if you want. If anyone would like to purchase some, just let me know and I’ll put you in touch with him.

Lastly, nothing whatsoever to do with games night. I thought I’d paint up some of my Wargames Factory Romans (this is pre-baby) and construct a light box to try photographing them.  The result – fail. I may not be using enough light for my box or maybe the paper is too thick. Back to the drawing board.

I’ve hit painter’s block at the moment, as happens every year. This year I think it is a combination of starting back at school and having a new baby at the same time. I’m hoping I’ll feel a little more settled in a couple of weeks and get back to the brushes.


4 comments on “Irregular games last Friday

  1. Hi Natholeon
    I’ve been trying to pick some good rules for Napolonics, that easy to play and learn. What do you and your group think of Napoleon at War and Age of Eagles?

    • Hi OwenI’ve read through Napoleon at War and liked what I saw, but it is specifically based and it is a hard road getting the guys to do any rebasing – let alone learning a new set of rules. I haven’t played Age of Eagles but I’ve looked through them and thought that they weren’t my cup of tea. I like to either have full battalion versatility (ie some sort of company representation and formation changes to square etc) or to have brigades abstracted as a single element (like DBA). For the former I would recommend Black Powder for a truly enjoyable game, or even General de Brigade if you want the big unit feel. These I have played. Unplayed but very much like the look of them are the Warhammer Waterloo rules. In the latter category I have played DBN and was a bit ‘meh’ about them. I’ve read through March of Eagles by Crusader Publishing and I really like them for the 2 stands equals a battalion type rules. But this is not something that our club is big on. Another option is Drums and Shakos Large Battles. 12 figure battalions, 4 figure cavalry units but still designed to be only 12 units or less a side. I love the look of some of the mechanics and if you have played any Ganesha games system, you will recognise the command and control element straight away. I was very tempted to build armies exclusively to this system, and may still do so (but I’ll double the size of the cavalry – 4 figures just doesn’t look right to me). The PDF download from Wargames Vault is as cheap as chips too.Final recommendation is Le Feu Sacre by Too Fat Lardies, which I have again read, but not played. 12 figure battalions (I like this) with a Corps sized battle. Mechanics are simple and elegant.I realise that this probably doesn’t help much. Of the two rulesets you proposed I would go with Napoleon at War. Personally if I was starting from scratch I would look at Le Feu Sacre or Drums and Shakos large battles. Our group play Black Powder because we have several armies from Marlburian through AWI, Napoleonics, and ACW to the Zulu War and it is nice to have the same basic mechanics to play each of those periods. Hope this helpsNate

  2. Regarding lightbox… whenever I have tried photographing figures in front of a white background, they come out looking very dark. I think you need a very bright light, if using white backgrounds…

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