Thursday, 7 September 2017

Battle of Agincourt II - My Medieval Rules WIP - Pt 1

A lot better game, rules proving a lot more straight forward, and the card activation a lot easier to keep track off.

Both the MMAA units were routed again by bow fire, and this time there was a mechanism for them to cause some morale damage as they went back. The main French battle sent DMAA into the ends of the English bow line, but the archers are managing to not crumble instantly (in fact I abandoned the "dagger" weapon as they got no hits in the first round, so upgraded them to sword, now doing too well, so now introducing a "secondary weapon" between the two.

Archers vs DMAA on the French right flank - 2 all!
The main body of the main Battle came on, taking damage from the archers. Surprised at even with a 9+ (longbow vs plate) all four D10 could fail to hit (which of course is reasonable). The "stalled" result on a double has also worked well, no triples yet!

The lead DMAA makes contact. It had taken 2 damage out of 4 to get alongside the English archers, but Orlean's then finally managed to roll a bonus command point and used it to drive the DMAA home before the English could get another shot in. Already weakened they lost another damage.

Weakend French DMAA crash into the English bow line

Not 100% sure about the melee system. Currently each side rolls for damage on opposition, but only the DIFFERENCE is applied to the loser. Putting the markers out as I roll so I don't forget works well. It does reduce the amount of damage, but despite an extra rule does mean that the winner of each round is unlikely to take damage.  I used the difference approach so say two lots of heavy knights don't decimate each other in one go - but that may be liveable with for faster degradation of both sides. Will try it once DMAA starts facing DMAA.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

One Page Medieval Big Battles Rules Draft

Given my dissatisfaction with Hordes & Heroes on the last outing, and the mismatch between rules like S&S and TTS and what I want for a big-battle set I've quickly pulled together a 1 page set of medieval big battle rules. Will try them out over the next week on the Agincourt scenario and see how they play.

If you want to give them a try they are at:

Very abbreviated at the moment just to give me some structure - but if you know your rules your can probably work out how they work. The rules use D10 and a similar damage and morale model to my Steady Lads Steady Napoleonic rules. They are designed for 10cm Hexon hexes (but could modify for non-hex play),  with one unit per hex, and unit being about 500 men. Figure scale up to you (but I'll be using 6mm now and 20mm next year).

If they look good I'll gradually work them up into a proper set and possibly put them through either a magazine article or a free PDF.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Battle of Agincourt - AAR

Well that was over quicker than expected! The French cavalry moved forward against the English archers and got obliterated. Then the French Van moved forward  against the English archers and got obliterated. And all without any melee - not how Agincourt went. Same again with the Main battle.

I then let the French take a time-out and do some re-organisation and send the Rear battle in en-masse and against one of the flanks. They finally managed to break an archer unit, and could then start wrapping ip the flank and finally get to grips with the centre without all the fire from the flank.

The battle then disintegrated into about half-a-dozen one-on-one melees. But with equal participants in most cases (English MAA stretched thin!) the melee would only give at least 1 damage for 6/36 rounds (as H&H B&C class need 3+ hits for at least 1 damage), so it was all going to get pretty boring. I called a halt.

One of the final melees

The final situation

When I last used Hordes & Heroes (for Bosworth) I thought it worked pretty well - but this time I just couldn't get on with it. Key issues were:
  • Longbows were devastating even against MAA - they hit on 8+ on D12 (so 42%) - and you're rolling 4x per unit, and the English were getting 2-3 units firing on each MAA TWICE per turn. OK it's not a 1:1 map of hits to damage (hits-3 basically) and with only 3 damage per unit the MAA were gone pretty quick
  • The IGO-UGO model with both wises firing in each fire phase, and melee in both phase made it hard to keep track in the sort of interrupted solo games I play
  • The "flee" result which comes up from about 4 hits onwards send a unit to the back line, where it automatically rallies, even if its only taking 1 hit! So potentially having fought one battle you might have to fight it all over again!
  • The two stage hit calculation/damage chart mechanism is a bit cumbersome, particularly given the chart is a 10x5 grid
It probably wasn't helped by the French having to charge (slowly) into the valley of death - but at least they should have made contact!

So I think I'm going to park H&H. But where to go instead? I've tried both To The Strongest and Sword & Spear and both have nice points, but they aren't really solo big-battle rules. I had c.43 units on the table, so single activating every one as both rules require would be a real pain. I've tried and passed on Impetus and DBA variants.  I might do a quick look on freewargamerules, but other wise there isn't a commercial rule-set I can think of that fits the bill - so probably time to write my own simple set!

Should be play-testing by mid-week!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Battle of Agincourt - 1415 - Prep

Agincourt: View from above the French lines

Having finished my 6mm Medieval a month or so ago it's time to play a game with them - and what better than Agincourt. I'll be using Kallistra's Hordes and Heroes again which worked pretty well for Bosworth last year. I use single 80mm width units, and then just use damage markers to simulate the reduction in "bases" from 4 to 1. Given that H&H is about 1 hex = 100m, that makes each of my units about 4-500 men assuming 4-6 deep.

Based on Anne Curry's book I need about 9000 English (so 18 bases) and 12000 French (24 bases). English are biased heavily (75%) to Bow, the rest DMAA. The French are the opposite, about 25% Box/Crossbow and 75% MAA.

One mistake I made ages ago was interpreting (mainly from popular media!) those MAA as being mostly mounted, hence I bought about 4 packs of Mounted  MAA to paint. Now I prep for the battle in detail I realise that only about 2000-2500 (4-5 units) were mounted, and the rest were DMAA - so I've had to supplement my meagre DMAA stocks with Bill for the game (but treat as DMAA). I'll do another pack of DMAA next year to give a decent amount for other battles.

Clignet de Brabant poised to attack early on the French right flank

The battlefield lays out quite nicely with Hexon, that alley of death between the two woods, and a slight rise at either end - and an English baggage train ready to be sacked at the far end. All terrain is being counted as broken to reflect the sodden state on the day - so all move at 1, no impact, but I will allow missiles to fire over it.

English archers with stakes line the wood edge

The final orbat I'm going with is:

  • 5x MAA (two for the initial assault on the bows, rest in Rear Battle)
  • 13 x DMAA
  • 4 x Crossbow
  • 2 x Longbow
  • 1 x MAA
  • 3 x DMAA
  • 14 x Longbow
  • 1 x Spearmen (guarding the baggage)
  • 3 x Commanders (one per Battle)

I've given the two French advanced MAA and the two English flanks of bows their own Commander under H&H (Move1/Range1), otherwise they would fall fowl of command distances.

The English centre, stakes up,  Henry ready to give the order to advance!

The aim is to roughly follow the historical battle, so English move forward (just 1-2 hex), French cavalry charge, French Van attacks, and we'll see where it goes from there!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Russian Napoleonic 6mm WIP

This months figure painting batch is just over half a Corps worth of Russian Napoleonic from Baccus.  I already have a similar number, but they were some of the first 6mm I painted and were slighter Heroics and Ros figures that I was given by Alan. This is the first Russian lot I've done with Baccus to being in to line with the rest of my armies.

The first units painted are 6 battalions (15 figures each, so about 1:33) of Musketeers. Also in the batch to do are:
  • 2 regiments Kurassier
  • 2 regiments Dragoons
  • 6 battalions Guard/Grenadier
  • 6 battalions mitred Grenadier
  • 4 regiments Cossacks
That will actually bring my 6mm Napoleonic painting to a close (sorry Peter!). Although I have promised myself one month of 6mm painting each year to paint whatever Napoleonic/Medieval/ECW takes my fancy!

Without a macro lens and a flash I'll hold off on any more photos til the whole batch is completed!

"New" Bosworth Battlefield Walk

Having acquired a dog it appears that one of the advantages will be an increase in the number of battlefield walks - you might as well have walkies somewhere interesting!

For a first outing we went to the "new" Bosworth battlefield. We Parked up at Shenton and then walked across the huge fields to Fenn Lane Farm - pretty much through the Yorkist front line an into no-man's land according to one of the current interpretations. Crossing Fenn Lane we then walked over more fields (all arable, one incredibly ploughed up, Agincourt like) and through the Tudor lines. As we approach the canal and foot of Crown Hill on the only bit of road the fisheries and ponds gave a hint of the "mere" that was once here. Cup of tea by the canal and then along the canal (not there in 1485!) before finally striking back NW across the fields, just behind a supposed artillery location, to the start.

Looking SW across battlefield - Crown Hill behind the big tree at left

Nice walk, not very scenic, but certainly shows how flat and open this space is comparison to the "old" site, and the Crown Hill ridge is a very mild rise above the rest of the terrain.

My 2016 table with deployment areas - photo above position in yellow

Friday, 25 August 2017

Project Sansar

I finally found the time to try out the Project Sansar "virtual world"/"social virtual reality"  - the latest offering from the operators of Second Life. I was disappointed and can't say it scratches any particular itch I have in the VW/SVR space. You can read my full write-up on the Daden blog.

The one high point though was a really nice Apollo 11 virtual museum with a huge 3D model of the timeline and earth-moon trajectory - complete with mini-models of the LEM/CM/SM.