Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lafayette Gets His Chance!

Erik here (Dave's son) - posting my first blog here with the Northern Association.  I had the opportunity to play in Dave & Rich's game "Lafayette Gets His Chance!" at Fall In! a few weeks back.  They put this game on twice that day, and I played in the second of the two games.  What a fantastic game once again!  Beautiful figures, great looking terrain got plenty plenty of complements from fellow gamers.  Having the game be as close & balanced as it was made it the complete package.

I had the opportunity to play as the Americans attempting to force the British off of a ridge-line and take the ground before reinforcements could arrive.  This was a theoretical scenario prior to the battle of Monmouth in Jersey with Lafayette given a contingent of Continentals and Militia by Washington to attack the rear of the British column.  This took place after Valley Forge, and most of the Continentals are quite good quality at this junction of the war.

The scenario had 2 American players & two British players.  Both British players were new to the rule set we played which was Carnage & Glory II by Nigel Marsh.  These are a computer  based rule set which tracks the fatigue, moral, & casualties for each unit throughout the entire game.  There are NO dice involved and very few charts in this game.  Each maneuver and action taken by each unit effects their standing in some way.

The British army deployed on both sides of the map.  Their forces started with their left wing of Hessians advanced extremely far forward occupying a fence-line overlooking the ravine my Americans had to cross.  Hessians are known for being great melee units as they fight 3 ranks deep and have very large units.  In contrast the Continentals are a bit smaller and only fight 2 ranks deep.  The other regiment was spread out across the middle and right flank.  We had knowledge that the British may have impending reinforcements coming into support their defensive position and had to move quickly.

Left Flank of the American advance

Early on the sides traded withering small arms fire back and forth.  In a single turn, both sides unleashed their initial fire fire volleys within close range of one another.  In one blast from a regiment of Tories-  dealing 132 casualties to an American line unit.  This is a record for Dave & Rich.

One of the American continental units got stuck in the ravine, demoralized by the fire from both the Hessian Jaeger riflemen and the Hessian line freezing in panic.
Hessian's peppering the Continental line

Eventually - the American contingent (led by Lafayette's subordinate captain Bumble Bradley) on the right wing charged into the Hessian flank and made them refuse the flank.  The charge went thought and the Hessians were pushed off the fence-line.  More withering fire came in from other areas and multiple units on both sides were routing.  The Americans lost two continental units from the firefights and their militia cavalry, the British lost one line unit and a unit of Hessians from the charge to routs.

Overall - the Americans took the worse of the early exchanges and were suffering from lower morale and fatigue.  The British army had taken casualties, but was still holding firm.

Americans Pressing the Hessians

As the Americans were positioning themselves for the next assault - Wayne's Brigade on the American right flank suffered a morale loss with two units in prime position to hit the flank and front of a Hessian regiment.  On the left flank, the Continentals continued to press the British and threaten the last remaining British regiment on the fence-line.  A 6 LB battery had positioned itself within canister range against the remaining regiment and was taking out chunks of British regulars at a time.  Both sides had suffered significant casualties at this point with the British still holding.

In this Carnage & Glory II scenario- the army break point was set at 75% of army effectiveness (STRESS).  If either army falls below this, the army breaks and pulls back and the scenario is essentially over.  The Americans appeared to be dipping below that army break point but Lafayette swept in to attempt to stabilize the remains of Wayne's brigade.

His HEROIC words cascaded across the battlefield revitalizing & stirring the entire army to continue the fight!  Saving the day for the Americans (and his own dignity with Washington)!  The next few turns, the Americans led by Lafayette proceeded to push back the remaining British & Hessian units after causing them to fall below the army break point.

Lafayette Got His Chance! - and LaFayette saved the day!!

Lafayette leading the charge!

The British & Americans both suffered heavy casualties, the honors went to the Hessian Jaeger's who neutralized an entire American regiment for the entirety of the battle.  The American honors went to the 3rd Pennsylvania led by Captain Bumble Bradley who broke two Hessian regiments and splintered the British left flank.

A great game - incredibly balanced and fun.  Only reason the Americans pulled it out was due to Lafayette!

Full Battle Map


Fall In! 2015

Well, Dave and I made the trek to Lancaster once again with the intent to play Carnage & Glory and to put on two games of it.  As usual, we talked and planned wargaming on the drive and decided to focus our painting project on the Hundred Days campaign in 1815.  It's funny how things progress when you are focusing on a topic.  As we walked through the hotel lobby on Friday morning we saw that a gamer had set up two tables to run some 6mm games.  Now, 6mm is a bit small for my eyes to see, but the terrain maps were so good looking that we stopped to have a look.  It turns out that the guy was running an 1815 campaign based on a board game called Napoleon 1815.  He said that it was in its 4th edition and is his favorite board game of all.  This sparked our interest because we are looking for a campaign battle system while we are waiting eagerly for Nigel Marsh's upcoming campaign system for Carnage & Glory.  So, now we went in search of a game to buy, to the dealer's hall and the flea markets.  We searched the dealers area and no luck, but we did pass the search on to Erik, Dave's son who had joined us, taking a vacation day while in Philly for work.

Our first game together was put on by one of our favorite GMs, John Sneed.  John usually runs Napoleonic games using C&G and we always try to sign up for one.  This game was a hypothetical fight set early after Napoleon crossed the Belgian frontier in 1815, our target time period.  Dave and I fought on opposite sides but not against each other.  I played the allies and it was great fun because of the variety of troop types on our side.  We had Dutch, Hanoverian, Brunswick and British contingents ranging in quality from Hanoverian and Dutch militia to British highlanders.  Although I lost the game, I had a fun time playing.

On Saturday, Dave and I put on two games of AWI Carnage & GloryII.  The scenario was "Lafayette Gets His Chance!" which I described in an earlier post.  Both games went well, but the evening game was extra fun because our great, good friend Mike joined us along with Erik.  We haven't gamed with Mike for years and it was just wonderful to see him again.  I'll let Erik describe his game.

Let's get busy painting!


Saturday, October 24, 2015


The 1st Converged Grenadier battalion being led up by staff officer Cpt. McLean near the end of the "Greene's Assault" game at NOWSCON on October 24th.  Wargames Foundry grenadiers, Perry mounted officer.
NOWS (Northern Ohio Wargaming Society) is an old club based in the Cleveland area that Dave and I were active in 30 years ago.  We drifted away and ran games out of our basements for years and went to Historicon once a year.  Now that we are both retired and have much more time to devote to gaming, we thought we would try to reconnect with NOWS and have put on two games with them, one last spring and then again today at their "big" meet of the year.  The venue was in Avon on the Lake, literally on Lake Erie, but an hours drive from where we live on the far east side of Cleveland.  The game went off at 10:00, we had four players, Bob Lohman, one of the old guard we remember from the old days playing the part of the British.  A gentleman from Wisconsin and a couple from Youngstown fought the American side. 
True to form, Bob laid a classic "L" shaped trap for the Americans as they advanced into dense fog across fence lined fields.  His 1st Lights charged off his dominant hill and completely stalled the advance of the American right wing.  But, the Americans were well led on the left, seizing the hill and farm buildings which commanded the center of the British line.  Fighting was heavy along the main road east of Germantown with the British falling back in relatively good order to the east ravine. But still holding the high ground east of town, the British were able to keep the bridge across the ravine open for their reinforcements which had moved up from Philadelphia during the morning fog.
The 23rd Royal Welch Fuzileers, part of the British relief force led by LtCol. Mathews.  Perry figures and GMB flags.
The game was, as usual, played with the excellent Carnage and Glory II rules by Nigel Marsh.  We fought 10 turns and called the game after about 4 hours of play time.  None of the players had ever used these rules before and they picked up the system quite well.  It was a minor British victory with both sides taking a similar percentage of losses.  Honors went to the 1st Lights who stopped McDougal's attack on the American right dead in its tracks.  It's hard to stop fresh, elite troops charging downhill into a worn Continental line.  I think a good time was had by all, I know Dave and I enjoyed hosting the game.
And now..... it's time to prep for Fall In! which is only two weeks away.  We are scheduled to put "Lafayette Gets His Chance!" on twice on that Saturday at Fall In!  After that, we will be playing more AWI and continuing our WAB Campaign into the winter months.  Please contact us if you would like to play.
And I will be painting, painting and more painting 28mm Napoleonic  figures as part of our new and current painting project.
Pick up a brush!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

WAB Campaign

Anglo-Saxon archers from my Later Saxon WAB army looking for Vikings to shoot.
We have started our WAB campaign using the campaign rules from WAB 1.0.  So far there are Pyrrhic, Carthaginian, Republican Romans, Greeks & Normans committed to the fight.  Army totals are set at 1,500 points.  The system is set up so that we can take additional players at any time without them being at a significant disadvantage.  So, we are looking for more people, the more the better in this system and still have Viking and Later Saxons left for loaners.  We will be bringing the WAB armies to NOWSCON next weekend and plan to run some pickup games if possible.
Speaking of NOWSCON, we are running our Greene's Assault AWI Carnage & GloryII game Saturday morning at around 10:00AM.  This game can take up to 7-8 gamers and we hope to have a full house.  Stay tuned for an after action report next week.
On the painting front,  I finished 16 Perry Queen's Rangers to use as formed troops.  I already have 12 of them painted up and on skirmish bases.  So, now the Queen's Rangers can screw up all of our plans either in extended or two rank order.  I also finished basing 26 Perry plastic and metal 28mm French Napoleonic infantry and started to paint 2 squadrons of the 14th dragoons ( French Napoleonic).  I will post pics of these soon and bring the blog up to date on our current painting project - 28mm Napoleonics.
Paint, Paint, Paint

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

WAB Still Alive at NA

Gallic Noble Cavalry as they prepare to charge Pyrrhus' Agema. 
Dave and I got started with Warhammer Ancient Battles after watching the WAB Doubles Tournament at Historicon a number of years ago.  We had played Ancients way back when with 15mm figures, using WRG 6th Edition.  When it shifted to 7th we moved on to Tactica with its huge armies, but things stalled and we moved on to another period.  Looking to get back into Ancients and liking the doubles aspect of the WAB Tournament and the fact that WAB 28mm armies are big and impressive, we got hooked.  Dave painted up a Viking army and I chose Anglo-Saxons from the time of Alfred the Great ( and his great hero Uhtred).  Our first tournament was a real mix, the first of our two games was a disaster, but the second game went well, we finished in the middle of many teams. 
Eventually, we improved our game and were ready to challenge the top tier gamers, until an unbelievable last turn at Historicon at Valley Forge when I managed to roll an 11, 11 and a 12 on two dice all in a row.  That panicked my leader and two biggest warbands and that lost us the game.  The guys who beat us won the Best General award, but we were voted Best Sports, I think because I didn't break down and cry.  The next year we did get the Best General award, but by then WAB had suffered a near mortal abandonment, the publishers had come out with a new WAB2.0 and an updated army list book and many players disliked this and left the game.  By this time, Dave, Eric (Dave's son) and I were working on our second WAB armies.  We stayed with the much depleted WAB players at HMGS for a couple years, but the low numbers of gamers there (5-6 including us) and getting more into Carnage & GloryII has led us to give up WAB at the HMGS conventions.
We still like the game though, and last Tuesday we played using my new Carthaginian army that I finally finished (I was very late in getting it done) against Dave's Pyrrhic juggernaut.  The picture above shows one of my units, Gallic cavalry armed with mixed weapons, light armor and shield.  The entire army is by Gripping Beast which is a company in the UK that I really like.  Our Vikings and Anglo-Saxons are also Gripping Beast and I normally get them through Architects of War.  They are out of Maryland, attend the HMGS shows and give the best customer service, I highly recommend doing business with them. They are based using our standard basing system and the shields are all hand painted.  They are about to engage the Pyrrhic lance armed guard cavalry wedge, ouch!  The Gauls had a chance though, you always do in WAB because there are so many dice rolls, but the Greek gods were more powerful than those of the Celts that day.  In fact the Greek gods favored Pyrrhus all over the battle field as my Numidian cavalry panicked in front of the Pyrrhic elephants and the Spanish scutarii failed to break a phalanx after charging its flank.  Nothing went right for the defenders of Melkert and Astarte, but they will look for revenge in the near future.
We would like to start up an Ancients campaign game using the WAB model which pits opposing armies in a mapless system.  I can help if you would like to see the WAB rules and army lists and we do have 6 armies, so if you don't have one you can use either Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Normans or Greeks.  Hope you will join in.
Or you could Paint, Paint, Paint!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Playtesting "LaFayette Gets His Chance!"

General Washington leads the Continental line against the 27th Foot in "Lafayette Gets His Chance!"

Our latest game in action at the second playtest.  This regiment of the new Continental line, after the rigors and training of Valley Forge, led personally by George, achieved the breakthrough he was looking for and ended the game after 12 turns.  Carnage & GloryII gave the Americans a major victory with the honors going to Morgan's Rifle Corps for the Americans and to the Hessian regiment  v Ditfurth for the British.

This scenario will be a hypothetical one, but based closely on what almost did happen.  For background to the game remember that by the late Spring of 1778 the character of the war in America was changing.  After the American victory at Saratoga in October, 1777 led to the French Alliance and  Sir William Howe's failure to destroy Washington's army in Pennsylvania, British war planners had directed the main British army back to New York City, abandoning the American capital at Philadelphia.  Howe returned permanently to England leaving his command to Sir Henry Clinton, who was to decide to move the war into the American South and the Caribbean.  The Continental Army spent its famous winter at Valley Forge and trained under the German adventurer v Steuben.  The Frenchman Lafayette returned to Washington's command bringing hope of the French Alliance and joined the Americans, Greene, Wayne and Knox in urging an aggressive response to the British evacuation of Philadelphia. 

Meanwhile, the entire British command and their Loyalist supporters had begun a withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York late in the Spring.  Rather than moving the thousands of troops, civilians and baggage by sea with the fleet, Sir Henry had decided on a cross country march to Sandyhook and the safety of New York City .  It was that column, moving slowly across the backcountry of the Jerseys that Washington wanted to strike.  He ordered BG William Maxwell's command and Daniel Morgan's Rifle Corps to begin the harassment of the British line of march.  Philemon Dickinson's New Jersey militia joined in sniping at the moving column during the third week in June.  BG Anthony Wayne agitated to join them and take his command against the British. 

At this point Washington offered his second in command, the newly exchanged MG Charles Lee, command of a part of the army to conduct a major strike against the rear of the retreating British column.  Lee declined the command, unconvinced of the wisdom of a strike.  MG the Marquis de Lafayette, though young and untried, was given the command instead and prepared to make his move on 25 June, 1778.  If Lafayette had been given that chance, well.... that is the premise of our game.

In reality, Lee, realizing how many men Washington was committing to this endeavor, reconsidered, believing that if he declined such a large command, he might not be offered another.  Washington, not wanting to lose the services of Lee added even more troops to the command and Lee finally attacked the British at Monmouth Court House on 28 June. 

One interesting aspect of the campaign was that the British army was and had been split in two "wings", one under Earl Cornwallis and the other the Hessian, Graf v Knyphausen.  This gave us the idea to put a large contingent of Hessian troops into the British order of battle for the game.  Generally, British troops are given good melee abilities in the Carnage & GloryII system and average fire ability.  Continentals before 1778 are given poor to average melee ability, but average to good firing.  Militia is poor to contemptible in melee (no bayonets) and average to good fire ability, but their morale is not great, if they stand they can dish out the fire, but... will they stand?  The Hessians are given average to good melee ability and average firing.  Additionally, Hessians always form up three deep, while British and Continentals form up two deep.  This would potentially give the Germans an advantage in melee, they are a denser formation with more punch, but it also makes them a denser formation to fire at.  We had never really played much with the Hessians as a large contingent.  Not wanting to give away anything for future players.... it was interesting!  Note the above where I said that on the British side the v Ditfurth regiment won the battle honors.

 Continental artillery is brought up and crosses the ravine as the battle progresses.

Till next time, Paint, Paint, Paint!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Blog Reborn

Sir Henry Clinton surveys the battlefield in our most recent contest: "Lafayette Gets His Chance!" 

We'll use this pic to launch the new version of this blog of our efforts to record our adventures in Historical Miniatures Wargaming.  We are a small group of gamers in NE Ohio centered around Mentor, Ohio and some of us have been at this hobby for over 40 years.  Now that Dave and I (Rich) are both retired, we hope to: increase our gaming frequency and quality and use this blog as a communications and sharing tool.

Our gaming right now as been focused entirely on 28mm American War Of Independence (AWI) games and we have been working on taking those games to Gaming conventions both here (NOWS) and to the three conventions sponsored by HMGS ( Cold Wars, Historicon and Fall In!).  We have put on two games so far and "Lafayette" will be our third effort.  The plan is to put "Lafayette" on at  NOWSCON in October and Fall In! in November, so the game is in the playtest stage now.

Our current work is to improve on terrain by building more fences (Dave) and for the two sides, painting some additional units (Rich).  Also thinking about and going to try a new method of making roads, the current method is simple, two lines of brown grit laid down on he felt tablecloth in parallel lines to simulate dirt roads with grass growing in between the wagon wheel ruts.  The fences are made from split wooden match sticks and then painted a weathered grey with an airbrush. 

Over the past few years, 7-8?, Dave and I have embarked on painting "projects" to get us motivated, a little friendly nudging helps.  Since then we have painted (between the two of us) four  WAB 2800 pt armies: Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, Pyrhics and Carthaginians, AWI forces for both sides and we just started a Napoleonics project.  I'll be posting pictures soon of all of these.

For now, we are trying to establish some regular gaming times and grow our group.  We will work for now with running playtests of "Lafayette" and will try to put together a WAB Campaign.  Between the two of us we can field six full WAB armies, so we have four "loaners" for those who want to play, but don't have an army.  They might go fast so it will be first come, first served to take Normans, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons or Greeks.  One of our group is going to paint up some Romans and knowing how fast he paints, they might be ready by the time we get going on this campaign.  Well, that's it for now, and anyone wanting to get in on this campaign or join us in our current Napoleonics Project is welcome.  Drop me a note!

Paint, Paint, Paint!