Monday, 31 March 2008

Rules n' stuff

Hi all

A few people have expressee interest in the rules I am using. These are a mix of ideas from FPGA, Grande Armee and Polemos napoleonics - MdE. As these were written by others (and I really don't have the time) I am not going to produce any sort of formal rules of my own, but here are some pointers if you want to try a similar hybrid of your own:

Sequence of play is largely as per FPGA, but without the multipe "pulses" per turn. In each turn, players roll to see how many intitiative/command/tempo points they get. Usualyl this is 1d6 plus a d3 per subordinate, but get more complex for larger battles with "wings". Players then bid to see who has the initiative. The first "proper" phase is skirmishing by the initiative player and any units in buildings, followed by bombardment (initiative player first). Bombardment range is 4BW (1BW for cannister). Batteries roll 1d6 scoring hits on 5+ (horse guns) of 4+ (foot guns) after applying modifiers similar to those in FPGA.

Cavalry and artillery units can absorb 1 hit(shaken) without breaking
Infantry can absorb 2 hits(shaken) without breaking
Excess hits cause a unit to break unless inflicted by skirmishers

After bombardment, the initiative player allocates initiative points to his subordinates. This is pretty much as it works with FPGA, with each subordinate havinga "command rating" and a "personality modifier", rolling 2-4d6 and choosing any 2 rolls to determine his action for the turn. Roll for one subordinate, move his units, then roll for the next. Movement is as per Polemos, so narrower formations move faster. I allow a 1BW bonus to units that can get into contact with the enemy. Cavalry and artillery are allowed "evade" moves ona die roll, with the risk of being captured/destroyed if they fail. Artillery are allowed a final round of cannister before chargers hit home. The movement rate of units is determined by the width of the formation that they started the turn in. Commanders have a radius - all of their formations must stay within this distance. Commanders also have an "orders" rating of 2 or more which specifies the maximum number of separate groups that their command can be divided into at any one time. Foot artillery that bombarded may not move.

The players then resolve any comabts that hve been initiated. This closely follows Polemos, having multiple rounds follwed by an outcome roll. We use Average dice for all of this however, rather than d6, the exception being the unpredictable fighting in towns, where we use d6s instead and a modified combat outcome chart - essentially the defenders need to lose a combat round by 5+ to be bothered. The combat modifiers from polemos are also tweaked a bit, and we do allow elites a +2 modifier (but elites count double against army morale if lost).

The non-initiative player then issues orders, moves and resolves combat.

The turn ends with a morale phase. Each army has a break point of 25-35% of its starting units (elites counting double). Once the BP is passed, players calculate the difference in units lost to the BP and need to roll > than this on a d6 to keep the army fighing. Initiative points saved from earlier can be used to modify the die roll.

Example: The french army from last Wednesday's game was a corps of 9 stand of veteran infantry, 2 of foot artillery and 2 of elite cavalry. Total unit equivalence was 9+2+(2x2) =15. The breakpoint was 35% of this = 5. It can be seen how devesating it would be to lose the two elite cavalry brigades as these would count a 4 units lost, so while they are very effective units, they still need to be protected! The Austrian army had nearly twice the units, but a BP of only 30% was equal to just 8 units.

Lastly roll an average die x 15 to determine the minutes elapsed in the turn and start again.

That's the basics. They give a good game that goes quite fast once you get the hang of it. i hope this gives some help to the people who are keen to get into 6mm napoleonic gaming.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A small victory

Tonight's game had a rather satisfactory outcome, thanks to Lau rolling some of the worst dice I have ever seen!

The scenario was based VERY LOOSELY on the battle of Putulsk, but substituting Austrians for Russians and ignoring the snow and fog.

The Austrian defenders had the following bases:
3 x Veteran infantry SK2
12 x Trained infantry SK1
1 x Elite Light Cav (Hussars)
2 x Veteran Light Cav (Uhlans & Chevauxlegers)
1 x Elite Heavy Cavalry (Cuirassiers)
4 x Foot batteries

These units could be divided freely between 3 commanders

The French attackers had the following:
9 x Veteran infantry SK2
2 x Elite Light Cav
2 x Foot Batteries

The French also had 3 commanders

Rough forces were:
French: 22,500 infantry, 2,500 cavalry and 30 guns
Austrian: 37,500 infantry, 5,000 cavalry and 56 guns

The terrain consisted of a horseshoe shaped ridge with the "points" on the Austrian side of the field but the central ridge being closer to the French. The Austrians deployed first and had to hold at least a part of the ridge from 10am until 8pm. The Austrian commanders were all classed as "cautious" until 2pm to reflect their poor knowledge of the actual French strength and to keep the scenario interesting.

The Austrians loaded their left flank and centre with most of their infantry and all of their reserve artillery. The right flank was held by the cavalry and around 5,000 Grenzers forming a sort of mega-advanced guard force.

The French opted to send two divisions agains the Austrian right, while taking and holding the centre of the ridge with a third division and the reserve artillery. Light cavalry brigades were attached to the leftmost and rightmost divisions respectively.

The French plan of attack was to strike hard at the Austrian right while holding steady in the centre ready to exploit any opportunity or cover any retreat. In summary, this went well. The Austrian right chose to spontaneously withdraw early in the game due to a lack of clear command and control from the CinC. It was robustly pursued by the French and torn apart in a frenzied attack by the veteran infantry supported by hussars. This allowed part of the French left to redirect towards the centre and combine with the third French division to annihilate the Austrian centre. At this stage the Austrians withdrew from the field.

Our after-action summary was that the Austrians allowed the French to get away with a very cheeky attack through a combination of poor dice rolling and a less than ideal deployment. We plan to refight the scenario next week with the benfit of hindsight and we'll see if the Austrans can do any better.

Thanks to Lau for taking his defeat with such good grace :-)


Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Veteran French firing line

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to try and get a "firing line" effect with my latest unit. Here it is.

Actually, without looking very closely there isn't too much to see, but the effect is rather nice. I don't think I'll be doing all of the bases this way, but one or two will help to identify the more veteran or elite units amongst the line infantry.

The French really do take longer than the Austrians though!

On the table next are nore fronch infantry including some in bicornes.


Wednesday, 19 March 2008

In-game shots

Just some shots of tonight's game. This was not a specific scenario, just two Austrian Korps plus a reserve launching an attack on an isolated French Corps, supported by the Young Guard.

The French attempted to defy the 2:1 odds by counterattacking. This met with some success, but was undone by the failure of the Young Guard to stand up to the Austrian Grenadier reserve and a strong right hook by the Austrian Avant Garde that the Bavarian division held up manfully but this was a tide that they could not keep back forever. The French opted to withdraw after battleing away for 3-4 hours (game time, about 90 minutes real time).
A fun game, but the scenario did not hamper the Austrian command structure enough.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Campaign dress

More French Infantry finished today!

These are my first effort to produce a more "campaingn look" for some of the French. This is to enable me to more easily field "veteran" other than legere bases, such as for St Hilaire's division at Aspern-Essling.

To achieve the look I have painted some of the shakos brown to represent shako covers, I have mixed up the colours of the trousers and painted some flesh on some knees to represent worn clothes. I'm pleased with the look overall and have undercoated enough figures for another 3 bases to get stuck into next week.

I would like to experiment next with more of a "firing line" look to the front rank of troops, so it looks like I'll have to order some extra voltigeur figures!

cheers all.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Return to Sacile

Last night we refought the same scenario as the other week, based on Sacile in 1809. The firts picture shows the early stages of the battle. You can see the crescent of five villages (just brown squares with buildings on at the moment. In the bottom left corner a French division has been counterattacked by Austrian light cavalry, preventing it from assaulting the first village. In the distance a second French division has captured the furthest village and is assaulting another while in the centre the French cavalry reserve is advancing against its opposite number.Below is a later shot. The farthest two villages have now fallen to the French and they are beginning to turn towards us. The cavalry reserve has pushed the Austrians back in disarray and closest to us the French infantry have fought off the light cavalry, reformed and are preparing to storm the village to their front.
Overall, the French had a shaky start with subordinates not quite acting as expected. Once thay got into gear however it proved hard for the Austrians to stop them as they had to wrestle with command and control difficulties, allowing the French to concentrate force where it was needed. Eventually Archduke Laurence conceded defeat and withdrew his remaining forces.
The battle kicked off (game time) at 8am and was wrapped up by around 5pm. In reality it took a little over two hours to play through. Good fun all round

Monday, 10 March 2008

Reinforcements have arrived

Huzzah! French infantry reinforcements arrived today. I have diligently organised them into separate batches, each batch having all the figures to complete 2 bases. When added to the stuff in the bits box I have enough figures for 8 more french infantry bases, and if I get a few more command and skirmish figures I can churn out another three or four.

I'm just off to undercoat the figures for the next two bases.

Exam tomorrow, I have to go all the way to Aston Uni for this, so I'll probably be back too late to start painting tomorrow and I'm hopig to actually get a game in on Wednesday. Painting should therefore start on Thursday. If I stick to it I think I can get 4 bases finished by Sunday week, and maybe start to make inroads into two more.

I've more-or-less settled on concentrating on Aspern Essling for now and have the OOB pretty well worked out. Infantry bases represent anout 2400-3000 men and cavalry around 1200-1500 troopers.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

French Young Guard

Bit of a slog this week, what with one thing and another. Switching back from Austrians to French meant that the first unit was a bit slow to do as I got used to the different castings. Nevertheless it all came good in the end.

Here we have a base of Fuslilers-grenadiers skirmishing and in front, backed up by Fusiliers-chasseurs. These regiments of the Young Guard would later become the Middle Guard. The Baccus figures do not have plumes, so I hve painted the pom-poms in appropriate colours.

The grenadiers have red pom poms and white epaulettes, the chasseurs have red over green pom poms and green over red epaulettes. Their lapels are white.
Next are the Tirailleurs-chassuers (front) and Tirailleurs-grenadiers (back). These have no epaulettes and blue lapels. The shakos provide the distinction, with the chassers having green pom poms and white cords while the grenadiers have red over white pom poms and red cords.

These two bases provide the remainder of the Imperial Guard for the 1809 campaign, so that formation is now finished!
The third base fnished this week is a combined formation of the Tirailleurs Corses and some legere. These are below. The corsicans are in a brown uniform that they MAY have worn at this time. Whatever the truth, this provides a little variety amongst all of the french blue!

I have an exam next week so will have a couple of days off painting before getting on with more french infantry. I'm just waiting for a reinforcement pack from Baccus to drop through the letterbox.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Austrian summary so far

Hi all. I thought I'd take stock of the Austrians I have completed so far. The full force is shown below. You can see two line Korps at the front and a small reserve Korps at the back (grenadiers and cuirassiers). The total force currently consistsof the following bases:

13 line infantry
3 grenadiers
2 grenzers
1 jagers
2 hussars
1 chevauxlegers
1 uhlans
2 cuirassiers
2 cavalry artillery
4 foot artillery
1 CinC
4 subordinate commanders

This adds up to a force of around 50,ooo men!

In the second picture you can see the output from the last week or so, 4 bases of hungarian infanty
and for a bit of fun, the last picture shows a base of jagers I completed the other week, steadfastly defending a hedge and field

I have completed the Tirailleurs Corses today and will crack on with more stuff next week. The Young Guard are currently standing in some damp PVA glue awaiting undercoating in the garage tomorrow. The really good thing is that I am still enjoying painting these figures rather than it feeling like a grind. I think this is because I am seeing finished units emerge on a weekly basis. In 15mm or 28mm this would be more like a monthly basis at best. The "quick hit" really helps with maintaining enthusiasm.
En avant!