Archive for the ‘Game Photos’ Category

At this point, I’m still hard at work building my Dark Age forces for Dux Bellorum. But, I wanted to play with the rules a bit, so I used some proxy armies to stand in until I finish, and played a game against my son, Danny. This was the first game for both of us.

The armies I chose were already based on Impetus-style stands, and were Ancient Canaanites and Sea People. The composition of the two proxy armies were close enough to those of the Dux Bellorum army lists that I could use them with very little adaption. So, the Sea People became my virtual Irish (My son’s command) and the Canaanites became Romano-British (My troops).  For this game, we did not use any of the built-in strategies and tactics except for giving the Sea People the Chariot option (Because that’s what they had). Also, I fudged the list a bit by giving the Canaanites an extra skirmish unit. The Sea People army, thus was composed of 3 chariot units (including the general), 5 ordinary warriors, 1 skirmish unit with bows, and another with javelins. The Canaanite army had a foot companion, 3 noble shieldwall units, 3 ordinary shieldwall, and 3 skirmishers. The Canaanites were the repellers, so I set them up in two main groups, with the general plus 2 shieldwall occupying a hill on the right and the three remaining shieldwall set up on some open ground on the left, facing a small patch of forest. The skirmishers were spread out more or less evenly across the front. The Sea People set up in three groups: One large group of of 3 warrior units on their left facing the hill, and two warrior units plus both skirmishers in the patch of woods to their right. The chariots hung back menacingly in a group near the center behind the main line of warriors.

On turn 1, the Sea People began to move forward. The large group of warriors on the Agressors’ left made good progress, and the skirmishers emerged from the woods. However, one of the units of warriors in the woods failed their bravery test and wouldn’t budge. In response, the Canaanite skirmishers ran forward to shoot missiles at the enemy while the two shieldwall groups held steady.

Turn 1ATurn1B

 

By Turn 2, the skirmishers of both sides were within missile range of their enemy and a very spirited exchange ensued. Danny’s main group of warriors moved forward toward the shieldwall occupying the hill, but he kept the chariots back, out of range. However, the unit in the woods failed another bravery test and he decided to move its partner unit to the edge of the woods and no farther until he could get the reluctant warriors moving to join them. Casualties began to mount among the skirmishers of both sides.

Turn 2

 

By turn three, the main group of Sea People warriors were now within charge range of the hill. A unit of their skirmishers were driven off, however, and now Canaanite missiles were beginning to fall among the formed troops. Danny now spent extra leadership points to boot his reluctant warriors on the right forward, trying to get them lined up with their sister unit holding the edge of the woods. The Canaanite shieldwall continued to hold their position. I wasn’t about to give up the advantage of the hill.

Turn 3

 

On turn 4, the Sea People infantry charged up the hill and crashed into the shieldwall. There was a vicious battle here, with both sides taking casualties, although the Canaanite defenders were obviously coming out ahead in the struggle. The warriors in the woods were now lined up and ready to move forward. The chariots still did not enter the fight, but shifted position slightly to face the shieldwall down on the open ground and move within charge range. Most of the skirmishers on both sides were now gone, leaving the fight to the bigger formed units.

 

Turn 4

 

On turn 5, the chariots, including the Sea People general, rolled forward and crashed into the shieldwall roughly in the center of the Canaanite line. On the hill to the chariots’ left, the battle raged and a few units on both sides were now within one cohesion point of breaking.

Turn 5

Finally, on Turn 6, two Canaanite units broke and ran, opening two big holes in the line. Danny quickly took advantage of this to push his troops into the gaps and to wrap around the men still remaining. The shieldwall down on the plain held firm, but the line on the hilltop was in tatters.

 

Turn 6

 

By turn 8, the Canaanite general lay dead with his men on the hill, and army took a morale check. The men on the plain continued to hold, although the hill was now swarming with enemy warriors and they were now outflanked. It was at this point that they still-unbloodied Sea People warriors found the bravery to finally advance out of the woods toward them. It was at this point that we decided to call the game a Sea People win.

Turn 8

Both of us enjoyed the game. The rules were simple enough that we eventually both stopped looking at the charts because we could tell what the combat modifiers would be at a glance. Armies are small, as well as the table itself, and this ensured that the game moved forward rather quickly. It’s worth noting here that this game was helpful in getting us acquainted with DB’s Leadership Point rule, and we were both able to clearly see that there is a certain amount of nuance involved with their use. During the early turns, we distributed the points to the skirmishers, mostly, to reduce casualties from missile fire as well as to try to maximize our own fire. Danny discovered that the LPs are essential to getting your line moving together, so he diverted a significant number toward boosting the bravery checks of the warriors stuck in the woods. Finally, during the big melees when the lines came together, LPs were now mainly used to add to the attacks (For the warriors trying to break the line) or to reduce hits received (For the shieldwall trying to hold the line). It became evident to both of us that using LPs required some care and that a mistake in how and where you spent them could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

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I like change. The status quo tends to drive me crazy, and I can’t just leave things well enough alone. I tinker and tweak, and alter and convert things incessantly, and I’m no different when it comes to wargame rules. The Russian Civil War is one of the periods that interests me, and so I’ve tried to play it with various sets of rules. But the problem is, I just haven’t been able to find a set of rules covering the period that really reaches out and grabs me, so I decided to try some other rules on for size.  I’ve been a big fan of the “Commander” series  (Blitzkrieg Commander Cold War Commander, and Future War Commander) for a while now, and I have several battlegroups built specifically for CWC and FWC. So, I naturally figured, “Why not give them a try?”. BKC is the one haven’t really played much, but I thought it was closer to the period, so I decided to make up some army lists for the Russian Civil War and see how it works.

The army lists weren’t that hard. I mostly used the existing Spanish Civil War lists and made some relevant modifications. Infantry in BKC is pretty generic, but there are rules for giving special abilities to units, and I used those. There was a wide variety of different troop types in the RCW, and I thought it would be important to reflect that. Bolshevik Naval infantry was very different from the conscript infantry units, as it was also different from the Czarist shock battalions or Czech Legion, and so on. I gave each of these troop types their own special abilities. Once I had the lists down, I headed off to Great Hall Games to test it out. My friend Chris (aka “the Other Chris”) met me there to play as the Bolsheviks.

Since this was just a test game, we went for something simple. Basic “Encounter” scenario from the book, 1000 points per side, and generic terrain, with a small village in the center with patches of forest scattered around the table. The object of the game would be to inflict casualties on the enemy. 25% casualties was a minor victory and if your enemy reached the breakpoint, that was a major victory.

Things started off fairly well for me. My Czarist troops got good command rolls and everything appeared on the table, but Chris’ Bolsheviks failed all of their command rolls and remained conspicuously absent from the table. My force consisted of (from left flank to right) a unit of cossacks with a machine gun car on the flank, a group of Markov shock infantry supported by a Maxim MG,  an Austin-Putilov armored car, driving up the road, and a large-ish mob of basic infantry on the far right supported by a second Maxim team as well as a mortar team.

Turn 1, the White army enters

Turn 1, the cossacks compress their front to pass through a gap

The Markov Regiment passes quickly through the forest

The White colonel plans his next move

The Reds rolled better on turn 1 and all of his stuff entered. From his left to right, the Bolshevik army consisted of a group of naval infantry and partisans supported by an artillery piece, a huge mob of infantry (18 stands) in the center supported by two Maxim MGs at either end of the mob, and a small group of cavalry on the right flank supported by an armored car. For the most part, I had better quality troops with bonuses for combat (The Markovs and the Cossacks), but he had more men.

Turn 2, the red Horde finally enters

Forward, comrades!

Bolshevik cavalry advances

My guys continued moving forward, and I pushed the armored car through the center of town toward the Reds. What was I thinking, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you what. I knew that the Maxims could penetrate the armor, but I figured on getting some fire on that mass of infantry. Besides, armored is armored, right? Not heavy armor, but still… If he shot back at me, how bad could it be? Here, I’ll show you just how bad:

The White armored car is hit by machine gun fire

Both of the enemy’s MGs opened up and scored hits, and the armored car went up in flames without taking a shot. Oh well, no big loss, I guess.

The road through town

At the top of turn 3, the lines were converging on one another I began firing the mortar at long range over on my right, and it began to inflict hits and suppression on some of the Bolshevik units, and eventually destroyed one of those Maxims.

The situation going into turn 3

A gun duel took place on the left between the two cavalry troops, which lasted 2 or 3 turns. Maxim fire claimed the Red armored car and a stand of Red cavalry, and the rest red cavalry was largely suppressed. So far, I was ahead in points and things were looking pretty good.

Turn 3, a long range gun duel erupts between the cavalry forces

Prepare to charge!

By turn 5, the lines were close enough to engage in rifle fire, and hits began to be inflicted. Under fire, the cossacks moved forward to within charge range:

Turn 5, men begin to fall

On my right flank, a group of my infantry managed to reach a patch of forest, while enemy partisans and sailors surged heroically through intense MG and mortar fire to reach the other side, ignoring casualties…

Skirmish in the forest

…while in the center of the village, an intense street battle broke out around the burning armored car. At this point, things are still going my way, and a few more stands of Bolsheviks were destroyed.

Shots ring out in the center of the village

Now here’s where things went a little weird. We may have misconstrued the close combat rules, butthe net result was that whole chunks of the armies seemed to melt away on contact. My cossacks and Markovs had bonuses in close combat and just utterly destroyed their opponents. The problem was, thee way the numbers added up, it was nearly impossible for their opponents to even do anything, and it seemed a foregone conclusion. Close to half the Red army just disappeared in one turn.

Caught by the charging cossacks

Hand-to-hand fighting around the burning armored car

With only 3 units lost and half of my enemies fleeing or dead, it looked like a big win for the Czar. However, there were two other combats on my right involving lesser quality troops who were utterly crushed by the naval infantry. This swung the game. We both reached our breakpoints on the same turn and we called it there.

Chris and I talked about the rules after the game. We both play CWC, but I don’t think BKC worked very well in this instance. First of all, it tends to generalize the infantry, and that’s really all there is in the RCW. There were no tank battles, which is what I think BKC is geared toward, with infantry in a secondary role. Neither of us liked how the close combat rules worked, although as I said, we may have been doing it wrong. Another thing I probably should have done was to increase the ranges and movement distances, but I just didn’t think about it, and we simply used what was listed in the book in centimeters. But oh well. It was a fun afternoon, nonetheless, and it did answer some questions.

I am thinking of trying this out with the new Force on Force rules, next time. I’ll let you know how that little experiment turns out.