Sunday, January 7, 2018

Fire & Maneuver: Suakin 1885 (variant)

Happy New Year 2018 and my first Blog  post for a very long time!

January started with a very enjoyable, if somewhat fictional, battle from the 1885 Campaign along the Red Sea Coast to defeat the Mahdist rebellion.

In this full play-test of "Fire & Maneuver: Colonial Era" an Imperial task force must cross the desert from a landing near Suakin, by rail and armoured train, to relieve a newly constructed fort on the Eastern trail to Khartoum. The Suakin-Berber Railway has been partially constructed, but Mahdist forces in the theatre have been reenforced by.... Pathan fighters. 

A scouting force of Imperial Cavalry pushed through the coastal range to look for the enemy. They get quite a surprise!

This game featured everything. Naval support in the form of a Royal Navy sloop-of-war, an Anglo-Indian field force, mountain guns, an armoured train (a splendid Fleishmann narrow gauge engine and trucks) and experienced Pathan warriors determined to break up the track and attack the train at a mountain pass. 

Of course, this is a fictional scenario. However the Pathan's were able to break up some track and cause some Imperial casualties, but at a the cost of almost the entire warband.

Here is how the game progressed. 

The Pathans rolled a considerable number of double-sixes thus obtaining the initiative in the crucial early game turns. This allowed them to shoot up the cavalry vedettes as they approached the mountain pass. However messages were sent back by fast rider and semaphore to the armoured train, and to the fort at Suakin to call up reserves.

The track was torn up and the locomotive briefly seized, but at terrible cost. The engine was quickly repaired as was the track and the train pushed on. The Tribal Chieftain in his mountain lair was taken out by an amazing shot from the sloop's pivot gun.

But where was Osman Digna?

Here is how the attached War Artist recorded the action, with some period illustrations and photos that provided the inspiration for the game!

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Coat of Steel

On January 23, 2017, our monthly Craft Day was devoted to a Wars of the Roses wargame using the rules of The Perfect Captain: "A Coat of Steel". This is now the 3rd game we have played, the first 2 really being training sessions. I have been working to increase the size of both Yorkist and Lancastrian retinues using Perry 28mm figures and most recently, the excellent figures sold under the Crusader brand. The figures were painted by Leuthen Studios and Carl Robson with some by myself. The numerous flags are mostly by CitadelSix.

Jeff and I took the Yorkist cause and Will and Steve the Lancastrian. The photos are either by myself or, where noted by Steve. His own Blog can be found at:

This game was designed to maximise our experience of A Coat of Steel. I had fabricated some time ago all of the cards, counters and other parts and sleeved them where possible. 

Each side formed the maximum of four Wards each. The Companies within each Ward were composed according to the rules. The rules were studied in advance under the guidance of Jeff who sent out various links and study hints during the days leading up to the game. 

Although set-up is quite time consuming, once battle is joined the game moves quickly. In this game a bold Yorkist attack with the vaward and mainward on the opposing Lancastrian vaward and rearward looked promising. The first Lancastrian arrow-storm of light flight-arrows fell short in the centre. The Yorkist mainward under Warwick closed quickly on the forces of Northumberland and Somerset. Unfortunately the early death of Warwick caused Army morale ("the Cause") to decline and the Yorkists took higher losses in the melee.

The Set-Up
Drawing Chits to Determine Ward Activation
Battle Joined Between Warwick and Exeter (photo by Steve)
Henry Percy Holds the Right Center (photo by Steve)
Clifford (viewer right) Attacks a Weak Yorkist Vaward Under Fauconberg (viewer left)
(photo by Steve)
Lancastrian Vaward Under Pressure. Jeff's Archery Taking a Heavy Toll
(photo by Steve) 
Lancastrian Counter Attack (photo by Steve)
Lancastrian Archers (photo by Steve)
Percy Supported by French Mercenaries (photo by Steve)

Salisbury Brings up the Reserve Ward (photo by Steve)
The Yorkist Right Collapses (photo by Steve)
At close of play, a Lancastrian victory was declared. Henry VI looked on from a distance and mumbled his thanks for the good outcome.

Henry VI Looks on. Brocaded Coat of Royal Standard Bearer by Carl Robson
(photo by Steve)
A Coat of Steel is an unusual but excellent game system designed specifically for the Wars of the Roses and we recommend it highly.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Operation Market Garden

Please check out my new Blog: Operation Market Garden:

This charts the story of the game we are preparing for late 2017.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Re-Basing the 1/2400 Fleets

The WW1 fleet has been re based on clear acrylic bases by Old Dominion Game Works per "General Quarters" rules:

The WW1 pre -Dreadnoughts are also based on acrylic bases. 

The pre-WW1 fleet is based per "Fire When Ready" on shaped, magnetized, plastic bases.

There are many more models on the workbench!