Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Diplomacy Game Update: S1906 Results

The Diplomacy game hosted here and played by email had taken some decisive turns.   To bring you up to date, here are the builds and adjustments at the end of the 1905 turns.   With France’s last supply centre conquered, the French fleet in Englsh Channel that was a bane to the English player for so long disbands, and France is officially out of play.   Otherwise, Germany builds F Kiel and A Berlin and Austria builds A Trieste.    Germany is in the lead at this point with 11 SCs.

A map showing the influence of the remaining powers.   St. Petersburg is still white because Russia is in Civil Disorder and in F1905 the Turkish A Moscow supported Rus A StP, this denying it to the German player.  We shall see how long that lasts but it is clear that the two most powerful players are now throwing down.

Situation at the start of the S1906 Turn.

 

Spring 1906 moves.


Order Results:

Carnage in Italy!   Italian and Austrian armies are eliminated in heavy fighting up and down the Italian boot.   
In other notable events, Russia is eliminated from play.   The rules for countries in Civil Disorder specify that any unit which if forced to retreat is disbanded, so the Rus A StP is disbanded as StP falls to the Germans.
German troops are now sunning themselves on the Med, and Turkish forces may cause some consternation in Vienna.  

Austria:

The Army in Rome cannot retreat; unit destroyed.

F apu Supports A alb - nap
 Support failed. Supported unit's order does not match support given. 

A rom Holds  Dislodged from tys (2 against 1). 

A tri - vie;  A tyr - pie; A ven Supports A tyr - pie; A vie - tyr; A war 
       Holds

England: F bre Holds; F nao -nwg

Germany:
No order for unit at Prussia. Hold order assigned.
F bar - stp/nc; A ber - mun; A bur - mar
F fin Supports F bar - stp; F bot Supports F bar - stp;
F kie - bal; A lon Holds; A mun - bur;
 A pic Holds; A pru Holds; A wal - lvp

Italy:
The Army in Piedmont cannot retreat; unit destroyed.
A par - gas; A pie - ven Bounced with ven (1 against 1). Dislodged from tyr (2 
         against 1). 

F tun HoldsI; A tus Supports F tys - romI
F tys - rom

Russia:
No order for unit at St. Petersburg. Hold order assigned.Russia: 
A stp Holds
Dislodged from bar (3 against 2). 

Turkey:

F adr Supports F aeg - ion; F aeg - ion
A alb Supports A gre - ser; A gre - ser
F ion -  nap; A mos Supports A stp; A ukr -gal
F wes - spa/sc



Results for Spring, 1906 (Retreat)

General Notices:

Order resolution completed on 22-May-2016 at 19:52:50 EDT
Order Results:
Austria:

England:

Germany:

Italy:

Russia: A stp Disbands

Turkey:

And finally, the situation at the start of the F1906 turn.  Will Austria turn to its natural protector, Germany, before it is dismembered by the Turkish scimitar?   Will that courageous English Fleet in the Norwegian Sea avenge the fall of London?   Has Turkey overreached?  Will Italy survive?   Where in the world is Miss Amelia Roosevelt?  Stay turned, Diplomacy fans.

Friday, May 20, 2016

More Thoughts On Blucher: The Battle of Karlseck - Kaltenbach concludes

I had forgotten that back in February I was blogging, somewhat fitfully and tediously, about an experiment to set up a solo Napoleonics battle using the battle generator, Scharnhorst, included in Sam Mustafa’s Blucher rules.   You can see the prelude to the battle here.  

In brief, a larger Austrian force of four divisions of infantry and three of cavalry caught a smaller French army of three infantry divisions (as well as a detachment of the Imperial Guard) and one cavalry division.  Archduke Luigi considers the opening attack.  He is famous for his aggressiveness and for his short attention span.  A division of Grenzers is visible on the right, on the way to attach the town of Karseck.   My mistake with this game was making the table too big - I had to lengthen the time scale during the battle once I realized that nobody would be in contact until noon.  In future games of Blucher I will allow all units to move 12 Base Widths a turn until they come within 8 BWs of an enemy unit (the max range of artillery).

Much of the battle happened on the French left.   The French cavalry was committed to delay the Austrian advance until the French infantry could stabilize the line.  They mostly succeeded, but three of the four French cavalry brigades were reduced to 1 Strength Point each and were withdrawn from the battle.  It quickly became obvious to me that an advantage in numbers in Blucher can be at least partially negated by poor initiative dice, leaving some formations sitting idle.  The attacker has some difficult choices to make about which units to activate and where to keep the focus of the attack going.

The Austrians overran and captured the French horse artillery.  Note the miss-mash of numbered chits I am using to track unit strength.   Originally I planned to use the unit rosters that are on the Sam Mustafa Honour website for download, but I found the problem was that I hadn’t identified which units were which.   I will need to make up unit IDs of some sort to go on the units in some way if I want to use the rosters, and keep the number chits off the table.

But the French infantry were able to hold them at bay while their division’s artillery came into action.

Austrian breakthrough seems imminent on the French right wing. 

But artillery and a charge of the last effective French cavalry brigade on the fight saves the flank.  Those four dice you see show a Combat score of 4 - 0 over the Austrian infantry brigade, which started the combat at 4 SPs and was thus destroyed. 

 

A view of the final battle.   An Austrian division has pushed through half a division of French (the other half were committed to hold Karlseck against the Grenzers) but the Imperial Guard are drawn up on the hill in the French centre.  One of the Advanced Rules I liked very much was that by the time the battle gets to the late Afternoon turns, you can reduce the number of dice thrown to generate initiative points from 3 per turn to 2 per turn.  That reduction simulates the onset of fatigue and the difficulties of keeping things moving as the light starts to fail.  By this point, it was proving impossible to bring the full weight of the Austrian army to bear and it became clear that the French would live to fight another day.

 

Last turn of the game, the Austrian Grenzers push the depleted French defenders out of Karlseck.   Grenzers can count 1 of the “5”s that they roll as a “6” in fire combat against troops in built up areas, and used their firepower to whittle down the French garrison until they had a decent chance of a successful Combat.

It took me a while but I was able to use Shcarnhorst to set up a battle and play it to a conclusion.   Had this been a battle in a campaign or a linked series of battles, Napoleon would have been forced to retreat.  Even though the casualties were relatively low and equal on both sides, it would be very problematic to resume the fight the next day, though there was a division of heavy French cavalry that never made it to the battlefield.  The smart thing to do would be to abandon the attempt to seize Karlseck, link up with the heavy cavalry, and try to sideslip the Austrian force and keep moving north, which was the objective all along.

One of the things about Scharnhorst that I really enjoyed was the random entry of reinforcements by both sides.   The Austrians got substantial reinforcements of two divisions) in late morning, but they never got into the fight, even if was very worrisome, when I put my French hat on, to see those numbers stacking up on the French left.

I continue to enjoy Blucher for its playability, though I find in a large battle that there is a certain generic feel to it, a trading of Strength Points in a contest of attrition.  It has an abstract feel to it, with very little of the Grand Tactical layers of rules that some other rules have or strive for.

 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Meanwhile, In Isengard

Back in November, His Grace the Duke of Tragardland sent me a very kind gift of some GW LOTR figures.   These were the real thing, proper metal models and not the overpriced plastic crap that GW now sells online, but that’s another story.

Included in the package were some Isengard archers, sculpted to resemble the raiding party in the second SPJ movie that captures Merry and Pippin.  Here are the snooty fellows, repainted to fit in with the rest of my force.

And some chasey chaps to run in front.  I like how the Duke had done some mods on these fellows, giving the one in the middle a giant war hammer and putting a crossbow on the back of the fellow on the right.

While I was working on this group, I finished two more plastic GW Warg Riders for Saruman’s stables.  Here are Cyril and Gervaise.

 

Graduating class, Advanced Course in Raiding and Rapine, ISCA (Isengard School of Combat Arns) Serial 16-1.

With these reinforcements swelling the ranks of Isengard, it’s a good thing that Rohan is looking to its defences.   Somewhere in the EastMark, this watch tower is being constructed.  Rohan archer and Catbeast of Mordor shown for scale.

Many thanks again, Alan my friend, for this kind gift. I still have some chaps from that lot to finish.

These figures bring my 2016 totals to:

28mm:  Foot Figures: 48; Mounted Figures: 5; Buildings: 2; Terrain Features: 4

6mm:  Mounted figures:  36;  Buildings:  2

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Diplomacy Game: Fall 1905 Moves are Complete, and a New Daily Dissembler!

Here are the moves for the F1905 turn of the Diplomacy game I am conducting.  We are down to five players:  England, Italy, Germany, Austria and Turkey.  

For fans of the Daily Dissembler, the latest edition is now available here.   It includes the latest adventures of Miss Amelia Roosevelt, on the trail of the missing journalist Harrngton, as well as other boring stuff like the fall of London. Also, the latest issue of the Ankara What, courtesy of the Turkish player, is available here.  My apologies for not posting it earlier.

Moves:

General Notices:
 Order resolution completed on 11-May-2016 at 17:43:56 EDT
    
  Order Results:
    
Austria: F apu - nap Bounced with ion (1 against 1).  A gal -vieA;  A tri - ven; A tyr  Holds]

A ven - rom; A war Holds

      
 England:

The Army in London cannot retreat; unit destroyed.
No order for unit at London. Hold order assigned.England: 
 F bre - pic Bounced with pic (1 against 1).   A lon Hollds.  Dislodged from yor (2 against 1).  F mao - nao

France:

No order for unit at English Channel. Hold order assigned.
      
    
 Germany:

F bal - bot; F bar - stp/nc Bounced with stp (2 against 2). 

 F fin Supports F bar - stp; A mun Holds;  A pic Supports A ruh - bur Support cut by Move from Brest. 

A ruh - bur; A sil - pru; A wal Supports A yor -  lon;  A yor - lon
      
Italy:

F ion - nap Bounced with apu (1 against 1). Dislodged from was  (3 against 1). 

 A mar - pieI; A par - bee Failed because England: F bee - pic failed. 

A tun -  tus Convoy path taken: tun- tys- tus.   F tys Convoys A tun - tus

      
Russia:

No order for unit at St. Petersburg. Hold order assigned.Russia:   A stp Holds
      
    
Turkey:

F adr Supports F eas - ion; F aeg Supports F was -  ion; A bul - gre;  F eas -  ion;
A gre - alb; A mos Supports A stp;  A sev - ukr
 F wes -  tis Bounced with tys (1 against 1). 

 

Results for Fall, 1905 (Retreat)
General Notices:
Order resolution completed on 11-May-2016 at 17:46:04 EDT
    
Order Results:
    
Austria: Supply centers were gained. Units that may be built: 1.

England:

France: Supply centers were lost. Units that must be removed: 1.

Germany: Supply centers were gained. Units that may be built: 2.

Italy:  F ion - tun

Russia:

Turkey:

Supply Center Ownership:

Austria: Budapest, Rome, Serbia, Trieste, Venice, Vienna, Warsaw (7 total).

England: Brest, Portugal (2 total).

France: None.

Germany: Belgium, Berlin, Denmark, Edinburgh, Holland, Kiel, Liverpool, London, Munich, Norway, Sweden (11 total).

Italy: Marseilles, Naples, Paris, Spain, Tunis (5 total).

Russia: St. Petersburg (1 total).

Turkey: Ankara, Bulgaria,  Constantinople, Greece, Moscow, Rumania, Sevastopol, Smyrna (8 total).
    
Adjustments:
 Austria: 7 supply centers, 6 units. 1 unit may be built.

England:  2 supply centers, 2 units. No units to build or remove.

France: No supply centers are, 1 unit. 1 unit must be removed.

Germany: 11 supply centers, 9 units. 2 units may be built.I

Italy: 5 supply centers, 5 units. No units to build or remove.

Russia: 1 supply center is, 1 unit. No units to build or remove.

Turkey:  8 supply centers, 8 units. No units to build or remove.

 

 

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Meanwhile, in Canada -1

Here are five stalwart Canucks from another stalwart syrup-sucker, Bob Murch, two-fisted sculptor and CEO of Pulp Figures.  These figures are part of his Yukon Peril series and are intended for my Rockies Ablaze project.  I write that with more than a twinge of regret as much of northern Alberta, a province I have called home and much love, is itself ablaze.

Here are some of the rough yet good-hearted who will aid the Mounties as they comb the high Rockies for werewolves and Nazi aeronauts: from left to right,  Laing Jock Laing, Jake Montana, and Leo O’Rourke,  Laing Jock has ‘nae much to say, and is a gruff fellow, but a good enough neighbour.  Jake has wandered from Fairbanks Alaska to Frobisher Bay, and can smell the weather changing.  Leo came home from Passchendaele touched by the war, but still wears his CEF greatcoat.  He drinks to forget, but the liquor doesn’t help.

Since Bob has sculpted these fellows in cold weather gear, I decided that I would use a winter theme for this project.   I used Woodland Scenics snow for the basing, and tried to add some details to emphasize the idea of fallen snow.  I found that the final spray of dullcote tended to stain the snow basing a faint yellow, so added some more snow afterwards.

Rufus Quant and old Frenchy Lamoureux.  Neither fellow gets out of the bush much.  They don’t take kindly to claim jumpers, tax men, or Nazis.  Rufus reminds me somewhat of Captain Haddock from the Tintin comics, which may be why I painted his coat blue.  Hmm, I see a little white paint on his trousers that needs fixing.

 I also made a start on some scenery for the project.  This was a proof of concept: two stands of Busch HO scale conifers found in a model railroad store, brushed heavily with watered down white carpenter’s glue and then dusted liberally with Woodland Scenics snow.  I am rather pleased with the result.  I will need a lot more of these to supplement the slightly cheesy looking Christmas village trees I found in a craft store.

Here’s a sneak preview of where the project is going next.   I was giddy with glee to come home from Hot Lead in March having met Bob Murch himself and having purchased one his Great Canadian Moose castings (as opposed to the other moose castings, which you can find in any forest in Newfoundland).   Peter Douglas, one of my blog readers, knows about me and mooses.  It’s a huge casting, and I think is absolutely necessary for this project.  I am thinking that the noble great moose will turn out to be a mortal foe of the werewolf and perhaps a great friend of the good guys, if they can manage not to shoot and eat him.

Besides paint, he needs a name.  I am thinking Justin, after Canada’s new young Prime Minister.  Any other ideas?

 

Currently on the painting desk: Mounties.   These are also from Pulp Figures.    It’s my first time painting red coats, so I am going slowly to try and get it right.

 

Fortunately, I’ve found a painting guide for mooses and mounties.  Seems legit.

 

These figures bring my 2016 totals to:

28mm:  Foot Figures: 38; Mounted Figures: 3; Buildings: 2; Terrain Features: 4

6mm:  Mounted figures:  36;  Buildings:  2

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Diplomacy Game: S1905 Turn Results

Spring 1905 was a time of frustration for some of the contestants, as collisions and stalemates frustrated their plans.  

Most notable was a collision of Austrian and Turkish armies in Livonia,   As far as we can tell, this was an accident between two allies, but by the time this friendly fire incident at a corps level was diffused, neither side owned Livonia and the way appeared clear for Germany to claim St. Petersburg in the fall.

German and Italian armies clashed in Burgundy in their race to retrieve the spoils of France.   While Italy claimed the city of light, this clash with the German colossus comes at a terrible time for embattled Italy.   Even though Italian warships pushed back the Turkish navy and the legions of Rome marched back into Tunis, the entry of the Austrian army into Venice threatens to undo the triumphs of the Resurgimento and of Garibaldi.   In her hour of peril, Italy can scarce afford to alienate Germany.

Meanwhile, in a sad and pointless battle, the British fleet was bottled up in Brest by a zombie French fleet in the English Channel, all that remains of France’s martial glory.  France is now in civil disorder and there are now only five active players:  England, Germany, Italy, Turkey and Austria.

Moves and mao follow:

Results for Spring, 1905 (Movement)
    
 General Notices:
    
Order resolution completed on 01-May-2016 at 13:10:42 EDT
    
Order Results:
    
Austria: F adr - apu; A bud - tri;  A gal - war Failed because Austria: A war - lvn failed. 

] A tri - ven; A vie - tyr;  A war - lvn  Bounced with mos (1 against 1). 

England: F bre - eng Bounced with eng (1 against 1). 

 A lon Holds;  F por - mao
      
France:

No order for unit at English Channel. Hold order assigned.
 F eng Holds
      
Germany:

No order for unit at Silesia. Hold order assigned.

 A bel - pic; F ber - bal; A edi - yor;
 A kie - ruh; A lvp - wal; \

A mun -bu  Bounced with mar (1 against 1). 

F nwy - bar; A sil Holds;  F swe - fin
      
Italy:

A gas - parI; A mar -bur Bounced with mun (1 against 1). 

 F nap - ion;  A naf - tun; F tys  Supports F nap - ion
      
Russia:

 No order for unit at St. Petersburg. Hold order assigned.Russia: 
        A stp Holds
      
 Turkey:

A bul - gre; F con - aeg; F ion - tys Bounced with tys (1 against 1). Dislodged from nap (2  against 1). 

A mos - lvm Bounced with war (1 against 1). 

A rum - bul; A sev - mos Failed because Turkey: A mos -  lvn failed. 

F smy - was; F tun - wes     

The Turkish player chose to retreat his fleet from the Ionian Sea to the Adriatic.  The map below shows the dispositions at the start of the F1905 turn.

MP

Monday, May 2, 2016

Meanwhile, In Rohan - 1




Some scenic work through April has produced this charming little farm for my Dux Rohirrim project.  As most Dark Ages games seem to be focused on pillage and looting and other beastly acts, and seeing as a fair bit of beastliness goes on in Middle Earth, one needs things to pillage and to defend from pillage.

The haystacks are from a Canadian company, 6 Squared Studios, and were in hot demand at Hot Lead in March.  I grabbed the last two - yellow ochre base, wash with Army Painter Light Tone, and several successive dry brushes of light tans.   The fence sections are half a pack's worth of wattle fences by Renedra.   They do come with little feet  I have seen chaps use them to simply stand them on the table, but I am a stolid sort of fellow and wanted them to have proper bases, even if the result is that the section ends don't quite butt up against each other.  The pig is a happy little fellow I found in a toy store.   I know that Pegasus makes some plastic barnyard animals and I could use some for plunder purposes.  We all know how cranky orcs get when meat is off the menu


I confess I am happier with the pig than I am with the barn (if that is what it is).     It is a model kit from PlastCraft Games that Vincent from the local games store stocks.  All the cool kids are getting these, Vincent told me.   Since it was under $10, I thought it wouldn't hurt and would give me a quick medieval / Rohanish / old timey building.




What I got for my $10 came inside a ziplock bag and was rather disappointing: Two sheets of precut plasticard pieces for the walls and roof, and a hard plastic doorframe and door made from some sort of injection moulding.  You got taken, Rabbitman wisely observed when he saw it under construction.   There was no scoring or any kind of feature on the walls and doors as suggested in the illustration - likewise the bits of wood shown on the exterior roof in the photo were missing.   I used a craft knife to score the walls and roof to suggest planking, and I cut the bottom edges of the roof pieces to make it look more like the photo.   Since the top roof pieces didn't join perfectly (I can't be sure if I should blame the model or my rotten skills), I glopped some plastic wood on top to look like a thatched crown to the roof.


I cut some balsawood for the outside of the roof, painted it a black, heavy dark brown drybrushing and a lighter gray drybush to suggest weathering.  Since there is no chimney or opening for one, I am guessing this building is used as a barn or as storage.  It's rough and ready, but I think it will go reasonably well with my MDF Sarissa house.



The next step is to populate the village.  For that I have this pack of Wargames Foundry Dark Ages Saxon Civilians who are next in the queue for the painting table.   I like the young bow third from left, he looks like he will be the one running to the village to warn that the orcs are on the way.



I think these figures will blend in fairly well with the scenery.


The talented and eclectic Paul from Paul's Bods blog recently showed some whimsical 20mm medieval civilians chasing geese, which I would dearly love in this scale.


Besides painting the peasants, I have some other ideas to pursue on this project.  One is building a watch tower - I think I have the plans for one from an old White Dwarf when LOTR was the big thing with GW.   Also, Rabbitman has just sent me a link to another fellow's DIY longhouse prject which looks very tempting.  Finally, there's the thought that if I was the headman of a village out on the edges of the Riddermark, with orc raids a constant source of dread, would I build some sort of palisade or stronghold at the very centre of the village for my people to take refuge in?  And, if so, would it be of stone or of wood?   I must think on this.

For my own purposes, I am going to count all the fencing sections as one terrain feature, and the two haystacks as another.  These models bring my 2016 totals to:

28mm:  Foot Figures: 38; Mounted Figures: 3; Buildings: 2;  Terrain Features: 2
6mm:  Mounted figures:  36;  Buildings:  2









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