Tuesday, June 30, 2009

French & Indian War at Bayou Wars

Last Friday afternoon (June 26), I played in Larry Brom's French and Indian War game, Mayhem in North America, at our regional gaming convention, Bayou Wars. Larry was trying out his convention fast play rules for the first time after a number of play tests with his daughter, Lori (an avid gamer in her own right).

Larry Brom giving out instructions prior to the start of the game.

The scenario was a meeting engagement somewhere in the woods in Pennsylvania or New York between two balanced forces. Each side had two regular infantry units, one light gun, one ranger or couer de bois unit, two militia units, and three Indian units, plus a commander and and a second in command. I played on the British side.

The British commander, gun, and the two regular infantry units (being played by bearskin hatted grenadiers) advance into a clearing between two wooded areas.

For part of Larry's physical therapy after his various heart related illnesses, his daughters purchased a large selection of plastic coniferous and deciduous trees. Larry spent a good amount of time gluing these trees to out-of-date color sample chits and then adding some flocking to them. The overall effect was very nice as it amply simulated the North American wilderness.

A lone unit of British allied Indians advance across a clearing to scout out the French lines.

Seeing the French infantry in the open, the British allied Indians start to swarm them. But the plucky French withstood several Indian charges, although both units lost many fusiliers to the Indian's muskets, arrows, and tomahawks.

The British infantry, on the other hand, thought that it could awe the French couer de bois and militia with its military splendor and advanced up a rise to "teach the Frogs a lesson." The gun and the couer de bois were better shots than the British anticipated - scratch one British unit!

Two of the French allied Indian units try to stay concealed in a patch of woods, waiting for the British forces to come out in the open.

Which they obligingly did, leading with a unit of green clad rangers and following with two militia units.

Meanwhile, the second British regular unit covers the right flank against a unit of French allied Indians deployed along a woodline. (The white ring denotes a casualty.)

The British allied Indians, now joined by a colonial militia unit, continue to harass the French regular infantry units, slowly wearing them down. But the French were also getting their licks in, killing a number of Indians with their disciplined musket fire.

Beset by three enemy units (two militia and one Indian), the British regulars slowly withdraw. On the upper right, the British gun stands deserted as the lone surviving gunner has fled his post.

A British allied Indian unit melees with the French regulars. They inflict some casualties but are forced to withdraw out of effective musket range of the French.

On the British left, the rangers and a unit of militia engage the French allied Indians and begin to force them back.

While on the British right, the French allied Indians have completed circled the British regulars, forcing them to change facing and then charge with cold steel. They are joined by one of their allied Indian units. But the French allied Indians are too ferocious for the British infantry and the second unit is reduced to combat ineffectiveness.
(The stand of four blue coated figures with the three white rings is the single British gunner striving to return to his gun. He makes it but is then shot by French militiamen before he can get the gun into action!)

Finally the British allied Indians are able to get things coordinated and gang up on the French allied Indian unit that defeated the British regulars. They smash the French Indians and send the remnants fleeing the field.

But by then the British had lost too many troops and the French were declared the winners, with a captured British gun to take home as a trophy. Even though I was on the loosing side, I still had fun. The game played very quickly and easily. It should soon be available at Sergeants3.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Major Robert Rogers

Last week after I had finished the Royal Aooghastan Cavalry (see previous posting), I decided that I wanted to take a special figure to my friend Larry Brom's French and Indian War game on Friday (June 26) at Bayou Wars. So I dug around in my F&IW box and pulled out the Conquest Miniatures Rangers pack that contains Major Robert Rogers. Just the figure that I needed.

Here he is, with his "fice" dog posed in some terrain provided by Larry Reeves, a fellow Jackson Gamer. Although the picture is a little on the "fuzzy side" (I didn't have my tripod) it does show the good major in his set of varied green Ranger rig.

There will be more detailed postings over the next several days about the convention and some of the games in which I played, as well as a report about the Assault on Fort Khalaam game that I ran (which turned out rather well).

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Royal Aooghastan Cavalry

Although not finished in time for the 2nd play test of the Assault on Fort Khalaam, this troop of cavalry will join forces with the Haddabiera tribe on Saturday at my Bayou Wars convention game.

Consisting of 12 Lyzard Grin Sikh cavalry, this troop of the Royal Aooghastan cavalry presents a formidable appearance. Armed with a mix of swords and carbines, the unit is patterned after Royal Afghanistan cavalry portrayed in the Osprey North West Frontier: 1837-1947 book. They are dressed in dark cherry red tunics, charcoal black trousers, and black boots and head dresses. I also tried to simulate a bamboo standard pole by painting darker brown rings. For a first try, it looks OK.

But will their dashing appearance also mean they will do well on the miniature battlefield? We'll find out on Saturday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Assault on Fort Khalaam - 2nd Play Test

On Saturday, June 20, I ran the second of two play tests of my scenario, The Assault on Fort Khalaam, that I will use during our local regional war gaming convention, Bayou Wars. This fight was slightly different from the earlier one. I had added three additional Haddabiera infantry units to the force mix. The photos below (please click for enlarged versions) document some of the fighting including the actual assault on the fort by the Highlanders.

Action on right flank as Highlanders and Hussars engage Haddabiera spearmen and artillery in the rough ground while Haddabiera cavalry attack the Hussars.

On left flank, two Bengal lancer scouts discover another Haddabiera gun while the Ghurkhas and Indian infantry are ready to engage.

And the rest of the Bengal lancers await in support.

Village of Khalaam occupied by an Indian mountain battery supported by two Indian infantry platoons.

After driving away the Haddabiera spearmen and cavalry, the Highlanders close on and capture the gun, killing the remaining crew. In the distance, the remnants of the Hussar troop attempt to pursue the fleeing Haddabiera spearmen and cavalry.

More Haddabiera appear on the left flank as the Bengal lancers, Ghurkhas, and Indian infantry advance. The two scouts are trying to overrun the Haddabiera gun after its crew was shot down, but the plucky Ivan Skavinsky Skavar pots one of the lancers with his pistol and the other rallies back to the main body.

With a tower breached and the gateway battered down, two Highland platoons assault the fort which is defended by Haddabiera riflemen, a clan leader, and the Emir. A few Haddabiera stragglers attempt to interrupt the attack but with no success.

Close-up of the two assaults. The tower was unoccupied, allowing those Highlanders to penetrate into the fort. The attack on the gateway was initially beaten back, with the attackers rallying back on the main body.

Another overview of the storming of the fort.

And yet another overview of the storming of the fort.

The last remaining Bengal lancer, a sergeant, charges some Haddabiera warriors. He defeated the three on the ground level but as he attempted to spur his mount up the hill, he was shot from the saddle. Skavar can be seen on an upper level behind the deserted gun. He was able to "draft" helpers from the tribesmen on the hill and did cause a few more Indian and Ghurkha casualties before the Haddabiera unit fled the field after suffering tremendous losses from the Indian rifle fire.

Overview of the center of the battlefield at the end of the fighting. The Indian infantry and mountain battery completely dominated this sector, shooting up all the Haddabiera who came within range, especially those who were trying to cross over to get to the fort. This is where some additional cover will be needed in the convention game.

Another overview, this time of the entire battlefield. Ivan Skavinsky Skavar is fleeing along the back of the watchtower hill. The last two Haddabiera infantry units in the center are sorely pressed by the Indians, and, in the distance, the Highlanders have taken the fort.

This was an interesting scenario to develop as I had to balance the force compositions so that both sides would have a chance of winning. With the addition of another plot of broken terrain in the center rear of the Haddabiera side of the table, the scenario should be a good one. I'll post a report of what happens at Bayou Wars sometime next week.

If you are there in New Orleans on Saturday, June 27, drop by the Radisson Hotel on Veterans Blvd in Kenner and say, "Hi!" I'll be in a yellow 1st Cavalry Division baseball cap.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Father's Day Present to Myself

Last week I came across a group of painted Prussian jaegers for the Franco-Prussian War. They were Wargames Foundry figures and were already mounted for Larry Brom's Chassepot and Needlegun rules, which is what we use in the Jackson Gamers. The opening bid was low and since I have wanted a battalion of jaegers, I went ahead and submitted a bid. And lo and behold!, I was the only bidder. So I got them for about $2.00 a figure, including shipping. Can't beat that with a stick, as we say here in the South.

I received them yesterday (Wednesday) after a quick shipping from Massachusetts to Mississippi. When I opened the box and unwrapped the first stand from its protective cocoon of bubble-wrap, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the paint job. I hope that quality comes out in these pictures.

As usual, Foundry has done a good job with the figures and the unit includes an officer, a bugler, and 22 jaegers in a variety of poses.

Here's a close-up of the officer, bugler, and a couple of jaegers.

These jaegers will be very useful in providing support to my two regiments of Prussian infantry that I have so far. Now all we have to do is schedule a game sometime soon so they have a chance to "show their stuff!"

Haddabiera Fanatics

The final foot unit for my Haddabiera tribe has now been completed. It will be a unit of "fanatics" armed with many swords and knives and a few muskets.

The flag is homemade. I again used an on-line translation site to come up with the slogan. In Arabic, it is supposed to read:

There is only one God
Muhammed is His prophet
Death to the infidels

The figures are some I bought from the now out-of-business London War Room. They are actually Lyzard Grin Sikh warriors, but I have "enlisted" them in my quasi-Pathan tribe - the Haddabiera.

Now all I have left to paint before the convention next weekend is a 12-figure unit of Royal Aooghastan cavalry. I was able to get them primed this morning so painting can commence tonight.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

New Native Unit - Ral Partha Arabs

Yesterday I completed the second of four new native units for the game I will be running at Bayou Wars later in June. It is composed of 18 vintage Ral Partha Arab type figures armed with spears and two others who are armed with swords. These were easy to paint. I used white, cream, camel, and suede acrylic colors for the robes and turbans. The skin was painted spice brown to simulate a tanned Middle Eastern/Afghan look.

The two sword armed figures are in the front. The one on the left appears to be similar to MiniFigs in stature but is missing all the usual MiniFigs markings. He may be a Frontier or Falcon figure. The figure on the right with the flowing cape had some indecipherable markings on the bottom. I have no idea from which manufacturer he came.

I made the banner on my computer by using the MSWord table feature.
The Arabic script, according to an on-line translation site, reads:

"There is but one God,
and Mohammed is his prophet."

This unit will join with two rifle-armed units to form the Silver Fox Clan of the Haddabiera tribe.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Native Unit: semi-Tuaregs

After the first play test of the assault on Fort Khalaam (see previous post), we decided that the Haddabiera needed some more warriors. So I got busy with the brush and paint. In less than a week, I had a new unit of 20 native warriors. I decided to give them a Tuareg-like character with blue robes and turbans. Only seven of the figures had the lower facial veil so all the others also got one put on with paint. I used three different blues to give them some variation and to simulate the fading of cloth and dye in the hot sun.

This unit is composed of figures from the old Miniature Figurines Carolingian/Moor line. I don't think that they are cast any longer but there are similar figures available in the MiniFig Medieval range. The unit consists of six CM-7 advancing with spear, seven CM-12 standing with spear, and seven CM-6 advancing with sword. I added the Arabic "B" character to the shield using the special character font in my MSWord program, printing it in white lettering on black. A simple hole punch was used and then the circles were glued onto the shields and covered with Elmer's glue before I blended them into the shield using a flat black paint.

The banner is also made with MSWord, but in this case I translated "Allah is great" into Arabic script using an on-line translation program and then pasted that into a pair of cojoined rectangular cells. I then cut it out and glued it to one of the upright spears. Presto, instant banner.

This unit will join two rifle-armed units to form the Black Leopard Clan of the Haddabiera tribe.

I'm please with the way these turned out and how quick they were to paint. I hope the rest of the native infantry and cavalry reinforcements go as quickly.

May's Painting Accomplishments

May was a very productive month as I labored mightily to complete the figures I needed for my Victorian Colonial games. I think that I've already posted pictures of most all of these. Here's a breakdown of the 106 Olley points of painted figures:

12 Pathan mounted warriors (24 Olley points)
13 British gunners (13)
12 British hussars (24) and dismounts (9)
1 British mounted officer (2)
1 Indian mounted officer figure (1)
12 Bengal lancers (24) and dismounts (9)

Plus the fort at Khalaam and 8 sections of gabions which are not counted in the above total.

Whew! And I have another 60 native infantry and 12 mounted warriors to complete in June!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Assault on Fort Khalaam - 1st Play Test

This past Saturday, May 30, we play tested the Assault on Fort Khalaam scenario that I will be using at Bayou Wars on June 27. Five of our group members helped me in this game. The following pictures (please click on them to see enlarged versions) reveal the scenary and some of the action. We will run another play test on June 20.

Rules used: The Sword and the Flame (20th Anniversary edition) by Larry Brom

Figures used were, with a few execptions, the venerable Ral Partha colonial figures, all owned and painted by Jim Pitts.

An overview of the battlefield, with Phil Young (l), Jay Stribling (c), and Bill Hamilton (r) moving and deploying troops. Not shown are Sean Pitts and Ed Sansing.

A closer look at part of the battlefield showing the left part of the Highlander battle line, the village of Khalaam (occupied by Indian troops), and the watchtower hill and the Anglo-Indian cavalry in the background.

The Fort of Khalaam, garrisoned by a unit of 20 rifle-armed Haddabiera tribesmen and the Emir and his banner bearer.

The Highland battle line with the Royal Artillery battery behind its protective wall of gabions. From this position, the guns began firing on the fort in an attempt to breech the walls.

Meanwhile, in the village of Khalaam, the action is being recorded for posterity by Nigel Bettafloss, star reporter from the London Times, and his cameraman.

Dismounted British hussars skirmish with Haddabiera riflemen on the slopes of watchtower hill. The hussars are supported by the Indian mountain battery on the left and a platoon of Ghurkhas and a troop of Bengal lancers to the right and rear.

Toward the end of the battle, the Haddabiera cavalry launches several last ditch charges. In the foreground, a band of Haddabiera attempt to close with an Indian platoon in square. The Haddabiera closed, but not before they took several casualties from Indian rifle fire. In the ensuing melee, the Indians easily drove the Haddabiera away, inflicting severe casualties.

In the background, the other Haddabiera cavalry band can be seen. Their action is portrayed in the next two pictures.

Here the second Haddabiera mounted band (being played by a band of Dervish warriors), urged on by the cavalry commander (in blue with banner), attack the Indian mountain battery.


Close-in shrapnel fire killed 10 of the 12 mounted warriors, but the remaining two (the band's leader and a warrior) closed with the battery. The British field force commander and his two escorts joined in the defense of the battery.

The action was furious as the two mounted Haddabiera either killed or chased away the Indian gunners and the battery officer. Then the commander's escort engaged. The Haddabiera warrior was forced back and then one escort was killed and the other forced back by the band leader. Suddenly it was mano-a-mano between the British commander and the Haddabiera mounted band leader. But the British commander's Webley didn't fail him and he killed the Haddabiera leader, saving the situation here in the center.

At the end we staged an assault on the fort to gain some data about the best way to interpret Larry's rules. Here a Highland platoon begins to cross the breeched wall, defended by a few Haddabiera warriors and the Emir and his banner bearer.

The Highlanders assault the breech in this staged test. They could only fit three figures into the breech and two separate attempts were bloodily repulses. After some discussion and a re-reading of the rules (always a good thing), we realized some more testing would be needed. Sean and I will do that at home over the next three weeks to refine the procedures.

I gained a lot of good information and suggestions from this play test which I will incorporate into the final test.