Saturday, November 23, 2013

Colonial Barracks - Part 2

This is the second and final part of the pictures I took at the Colonial Barracks convention over the November 8-10 weekend in New Orleans.

The first game I will cover took place Saturday night.  Titled "The Colonel's Got to Know," it was run by Gerry Webb of Castaway Arts in Australia using troops provided by Mark Stevens.  It was based on the final scenes of the movie Gunga Din where Gunga Din and the Sergeants 3 are trapped in the Thugee temple and the British column is marching into an ambush.  Can Gunga warn the Colonel before the trap is sprung?

We had four British players and six Thugee players with each having command of a single unit.  I commanded a Thugee unit of riflemen and waited with my troops hidden among the rocks while the British marched singing merrily into our trap.

The unsuspecting British column with a unit of Highlanders, followed by a Gatling carried by an elephant, then another unit of Highlanders, and a unit of Indian cavalry.
Martha, the Thugee commander, sits behind the temple carefully watching and gauging the progress of the British column.  If you look closely you can see Gunga Din with his bugle and the Sergeants 3 on the roof of the temple.  Gunga had to roll a D6 every turn but couldn't sound his bugle until he had reached the "magic number," which I think was 10.  Martha had the Thugee cannon concealed on the platform at the temple entrance, loaded and ready to fire.
The British column plods along, deeper and deeper into the valley.  They had to roll distance dice every turn and move that full distance.
The British column from the viewpoint of my Thugee riflemen.  The column has been warned by Gunga's bugle and the lead unit has faced to either side of the trail, guns ready.
As the Indian cavalry attempt a complicated reverse wheel, the Thugee cavalry charge into their flank.  Only a few Indian cavalrymen could fight so in the ensuing melee, the Thugee cavalry defeated the Indians and sent them reeling.  But they rallied the next turn and came back at the Thugees.

Ross, one of the Thugee commanders, and Gerry Webb, look over the battlefield.  You can see my Thugee riflemen lining the top of the rocky ridge.  The two Highlander units and the Gatling gun have deployed  right in the middle of the "kill zone."
Tim, a British commander if I remember correctly, looks on the dread as the Highlanders start to fall to accurate Thugee rifle fire.
Even though the Thugee cavalry won initially, the rallied Indian cavalry came back and slaughtered the Thugees, forcing them to race away to safety.
Freed of the threat of Thugee cavalry, the Indian cavalry turns to ride to the aid of their Highland infantry who are being attacked by Thugees down in the valley.  Sometime during these initial turns, the British Gatling shot down the Thugee gunners, rendering their gun useless.
John, the British commander in his red "coatee," watches stoically as his men fight for their lives against the Thugee attackers.
Riding over the sabered and bayoneted bodies of the Thugees, the Indian cavalry heads towards my riflemen who have too eagerly come out of the rocks.  Seeing the cavalry, they quickly scampered back and resumed their fire from the safety of the rocky hill.
The Indian cavalry then turned away and headed back into the fray around the Gatling gun.  Another Thugee spear unit has appeared after moving stealthily around the rear of the British.  Trapped in the dusty valley with no cover, the British and Indians died a slow and bloody death underneath the rifles of the "expert" Thugees (our die rolls were really good during this game).

The second game was played Sunday morning.  Titled "The Real Glory," it was run by Mark Stevens and was based on the movie by the same name that starred Gary Cooper.

The Philippine constabulary compound with its walls manned and ready.

The Catholic nun and her orphan charges, escorted by a couple of American freebooters, dash down the trail towards the constabulary compound.

Martha controlled the nun and her detachment (on the trail to the center right).  Several Moro units have appeared and are trying to cut the little band of refugees off while a constabulary patrol advances out of the compound to their succor.

A panorama of the battlefield.  The Moros came into the battlefield from the sides of the table.  John (dark shirt on left) and Ken were constabulary commanders while Walt and Ross (on left) and Bill (standing with camera) and I were the Moro commanders.

John makes a grans gesture as Moros close around the compound entrance.  The nun and her detachment have already gained the shelter of Ken's constabulary patrol who form a battle line, facing the Moro attack.

Suddenly the Moros hear the sounds of boats coming up the river.  The constabulary reinforcements, American Marines and Filipino regulars, are coming to the rescue.  While some Moros head towards the landing, others redouble their efforts to get into the compound.  Unfortunately the constabulary riflemen and Gatling gunners are very accurate and Moro commanders fall right and left.

A few Moros make it to the top of the wall but their ladder was pushed away behind them.  At the compound entrance, the nun and her charges scoot in closely pursued by a Moro juramentado (fanatic).

While the nun and the orphans run into the chapel (lower right), the compound commander and a soldier try to stop the juramentado.  The soldier is killed but the officer puts a .45 caliber slug between the Moro's eyes, ending that threat.  With most of their commanders dead and the Marines and Filipino regulars slowly but steadily advancing, the remaining Moros slip away into the surrounding jungle.  "He who runs away, lives to fight another day."
I hope that you enjoyed the pictures of the various games I posted.  Remember, Colonial Barracks is scheduled next year (2014), tentatively for the second weekend in November.  If you are close enough to New Orleans, please come and join our fun.  Watch for future announcements on and on the Miniatures Page.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Colonial Barracks - Part 1

On my last post, I opened my report from this year's Colonial Barracks convention with the battle I ran on Saturday morning.  This part of the report, which I have labelled Part 1, will cover some of the games that were played Friday night.

We open with John Murdaugh's 40mm Battle of Camden using "Disperse, Ye Damned Rebels!" rules on Friday afternoon.

Supervised by Larry Brom (red Marine cap), Martha, Lori, and Tim (American players) get ready to show the British a taste of American hospitality, with a torrent of lead!  John sits behind them.
Nick Zizo ran a Zulu game on Friday afternoon featuring Warlord Games' Rorke's Drift set.

The Rorke's Drift model dominates the battlefield.

Chick and Donna (far side of the table) and Dwight (front left) contemplate their options as the game begins.

James (left) and Dwight wonder if their Zulus can actually break into the compound at wash their spears in British blood.
And while the above two games were being played, Ed got his troops sorted for his Friday night Mexican American War game "The Battle for Jalapa," which presumed that Santa Ana did not take his army north to Buena Vista but had it available to oppose General Scott's advance from Veracruz.

The big game Saturday night was Rich Smethurst's and Dale Kemper's "55 Days at Peking" action on the Tartar Wall above the legations.  I played in this game as a Boxer commander.

Dale Kemper (owner/operator of Stellar Systems, manufacturer of the Ral Partha Colonial line), sets up troops on the two part model of the Tartar Wall.

As Boxers move down the wall, a Chinese rocket explodes just in front of the Marine defenses.  Donna was also a Boxer commander.  We had about six Boxer players, each of whom could have a 20-man unit on the wall at any one time.  When a unit was destroyed, another took its place.  The Marines, however, were limited to two platoons plus a machinegun.

A closer view of part of the Marine lines.  Charlton Heston is on the horse.  In the background, a Marine is killed by another Chinese rocket warhead.  The rockets weren't very accurate and we hit our own troops several times.

Boxers swarm up onto the Marine barricade.

As another rocket lands just behind the Marine line, more Boxers gather for their chance at the "round-eyes."

But the Marines' rifle fire slaughters the Boxers, sending the survivors reeling.  In the background there is furious action at the other Marine barricade.

Oh, no!!  Heston is killed by a Chinese rocket warhead.  This was my only success as a Boxer commander.

On the far barricade, several Boxer units attack the Marines as another rocket explodes just behind them.  Can the Boxers take advantage of this?

Yes, they can.  The Marines are forced away from the barricade and fall back to secondary positions at the heads of the ramps leading down into the Legations area (at far right).  Only the priest is left to stand against the "heathen Boxers."  the game ended shortly afterwards as a platoon of Sikh infantry climbed up one of  the ramps and the Boxers finally ran out of troops.
This last picture from Friday night is the 15mm Alamo set-up for Terry Sofian's "The Alamo + Rough Riders + Them" game that was run Saturday morning.  Terry used his newly released "The Hive and the Flame" rules and pitted Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders defending the San Juan Mission against rampaging giant bugs from outer space.  There are several early tanks in the foreground.

That's all for now.  Further report(s) will be made to cover the other games on Saturday and the game on Sunday morning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Very British Civil War at Colonial Barracks

Over the Veterans' Day weekend, I attended the Colonial Barracks convention in New Orleans.  Begun in 2011, this convention celebrates all things The Sword and the Flame.  Last year it expanded to include any rules written by Larry Brom, the author of TSATF, or any rules developed from his groundwork.  This year the convention "went to Hollywood" to celebrate the cinematic quality of the original game.

All of the games were to be based (strongly or loosely) on a movie.  There were games based on Zulu and Zulu Dawn, 55 Days at Peking, and Gunga Din, to name a few.  A fun time was had by all.

The convention was also in memory of Donald Featherstone and a poster displayed a picture of Don (2nd from left) with Larry Brom (far right), Charlie Sweet (far left), and  Jerry Ebberling (2nd from right).  Don  was the guest speaker at Historicon in 1989.  Between the four of them, they had by 1989 amassed 159 years of wargaming!

My game was very loosely based on the 1995 movie Richard III (Shakespeare's play moved to a 1930s Britain), which starred Ian McKellen and Annette Benning.  This movie was the genesis of the wargaming genre A Very British Civil War.  I explained this genre in my previous post so I won't go into it again here.

The rules used for this game are The Sword to Adventure supplement to The Sword and the Flame.  They can be acquired from the Brom's webstore at .

The general situation centered around the small town of East Bergholt in western Suffolk, whose conservative squire had made a loose alliance with the local brewery workers' union and had gathered a quantity of supplies to tide his people over the winter.  The Royalist Eastern Division command had heard about these supplies and dispatched a field force from their Colchester, Essex, garrison to raid East Bergholt.

The town of East Bergholt, with (from left) the village church, house, Brown's Brewery, and pub on the far side of the main street and the local garage, Gilmore Distributor's warehouse, house, and the squire's manor on the near side of the main street.

A close-up of East Bergholt showing the "clapper board" that Lori had for each of the games.  She got them for less that $1 each at a discount party store in New Orleans.  It is a clever way to designate the games.

The action opened with warning of the advancing Royalists and their British Union of Fascist (BUF) allies sending the local Anglican League defense force (LDF) (foreground) and the East Bergholt Hunt Club (background) scurrying to defensive positions.

The local constabulary (on the main street) also moved closer around the pub, while a steam truck from the Harwich naval soviet parked outside the brewery.  The brewery yard remained quiet.  The BUF advanced along both sides of the secondary road leading into town with a propaganda truck in the lead.  They had two sections of infantry and a Maxim heavy machinegun.

The Royalists from Colchester (a reinforced company of the Essex Regiment) advanced toward the church and the brewery (behind the church).  They had three sections of infantry, a Vickers heavy machinegun, and a tankette and armored car.

The BUF force advances closer to the pub.  In the lower left corner of the picture, you can see a constable carefully peaking around the corner.  The BUF machinegun on the hill is trading shots with the hunt club who are positioned behind a stone and rail wall.  Neither side did much damage to each other at this point.

The hunt club defend the squire's manor house while the Anglican LDF form up in preparation to defend the town.  The squire's early model Rolls Royce is parked behind the hunt club line.

Gerry Webb, proprietor of Castaway Arts ( joined us all the way from Australia.  Gerry commanded the Royalist forces.  Here he watches as one of his sections and his tankette move against the town.

The Royalist armored car (HMAC Ajax) pulled up to block the retreat of the Harwich naval soviet truck.

But the sailors have a surprise for the Edwardians - off comes the tarp and a 4" naval shell comes winging down the road, damaging the armored car.  The armored car's machinegun killed one of the naval gun crew in the exchange.

After the armored car pulls out of the line of fire, the Royalist infantry occupies the church yard and their Vickers MG team slogs up the road.  On the right is the "tail-end Charlie" of another infantry section that is following the armored car.

On the other side of town, the BUF advance is stymied by the squire's forces.  The propaganda truck and the BUF leader's car try to motivate their fellows by moving ahead.

Across the road, the right flank BUF section crosses into the pub's backyard.  The constables are rallying in the main street ready to move out in response.

My friend, Ken, always come dressed to our conventions.  This time he was perfectly dressed for the Very British Civil War in his coatee and glengary cap.  Ken commanded the Harwich naval soviet troops.  He also posted some additional pictures of the action at East Bergholt on his blog, Flashcove's Cay (see link to left).

Once the Royalists got closer, the Harwich naval soviet troops come out of their hides and moved into action.  One section advances across the main street to oppose the Royalist advance against the brewery while another assembles in the yard of the local auto repair shop to contest the advance of the Royalists from the church yard.

A little later in the fight, a Royalist infantry section tries to attack some sailors gathered between the auto repair shop and the town warehouse.  Three of the Royalists were stragglers in the attack so only six closed with the sailors.  Littering the ground to the right are the bodies of another sailor section that was completely shot to pieces by the armored car and the Royalist infantry.

The Royalist attack didn't succeed, with the sailors prevailing in the melee.  Three of the soldiers were killed and the rest fled.

This basically ended the action on this flank.  The BUFs and the squire's forces fought each other to a standstill on the other end of the town.  The brewery workers' union finally came out after "fortifying" themselves with plenty of Brown Brewery's famous Pale Ale and held off a half-hearted Royalist attack.

But all the players had fun, which was the most important objective.

All of the buildings and most of the fencing and walls are printed on cardstock and assembled by Campbell's Construction Company.  With the a few exceptions, the figures were painted by Col. Campbell.