Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Dark Age Kriegsspiel

Stuck on lockdown I spotted a post by Captain Blood on the Lead Adventure forum. He was setting up a game where the players would send him their orders and he'd play the game and report back. With the luxury of the Soldier Shack at my disposal I thought I'd give something similar a try. So I roped in Martin and James as players.

I decided to use my Dark Age collection, as I have two opposed armies for that ready to go. They're built for Warhammer Ancient battles but in this case I settled on Neil Thomas' One Hour Wargames for the rules. I wanted something quite simple and quick for me to play so the players wouldn't have long between orders and I wouldn't have to remember lots of complicated stats. I didn't tell James and Martin what rules I was using, just gave them an outline of what the various troop types were.

I set up the table, provided each of the players with their own army list and took a picture from their end of the table and asked them for their deployment.

The Roman view

The Saxon view

I took plenty of pictures during the game but the players mainly got camera phone pictures taken from the point of view of their general - so fog of war was at play.

The Saxons approach the village.

The Romans meanwhile have assumed a defensive stance behind their shieldwall.

I wasn't expecting this deployment from Martin - as written the rules say you should deploy within 6" on the table edge. However that's where he wanted to go, it made sense of the landscape and I decided it wasn't going to break anything so that was fine.

The Saxons rushed forward, whilst the Romans pushed their skirmishers into the village.

The Saxon skirmishers crested the hill.

At this point James ordered his cavalry to see off the skirmishers. But they were  in reserve behind his battle line, so I moved them into this gap. Not, I'm sure, what he intended but the only way I could interpret his order.
The Romans meanwhile decided to push up.

James was stuck on the far right of his battle line. He was trying to use clever tactics, but it left him unable to see most of what his force was doing.

The Romans continued to close the gap. While the Saxons stood static and surrendered the initiative.

Seeing the skirmishers in the village James launched his hearthguard into the attack. This meant he was even more restricted in view and his battle line remained still.

One of the quirks of One Hour Wargames is that skirmishers are relatively resilient. Where, in almost any other game, they'd have evaporated on contact with a hearthguard unit here they fought fr a couple of turns.

The Romans, seized the initiative and went on the offensive.

Eventually crashing in to the static Saxon lines, just as the village was cleared.

The grind began.

Not much for the two generals to do at this point. OHW combat grinds on until one unit is destroyed.

James had a unit of skirmishers on the end of his battle line who were engaged from early on in a shooting match with Roman archers. They had no orders, but there was a potential Roman flank for them to attack.

Int the end I diced to see if they'd use their initiative to charge in, but the dice decreed they'd carry on shooting.

After a few rounds of combat (Saxon's hitting harder, armoured Romans defending stoutly) the lines began to fracture and then break.
The Roman archers drove off the Saxon skirmishers - though at a cost.
The Saxon cavalry defeated their opponents but in return two Saxon warbands were cut down.

This revealed a whole undamaged unit of Saxon warband that had been stuck behind their fellows.
There was a building between them and the general's unit, so James couldn't see them and their way to battle was blocked - so they just hung on in reserve.

Over the fence in the village, the game was reaching it's climax.

The Romans seized the initiative on their flank, turned and wiped out the remaining horsemen before they could regroup.

At the same time the battle at the fence finally went the way of the Romans, who cut down the Saxon warlord.

And, despite the last warband destroying the battered Romans in front of them. the death of their leader meant the game was up for the Saxon raiders.

That was lots of fun (for me at least) and gave me a toy soldier fix.
Using Facebook messenger for the orders seemed to work well enough and I was kept busy running back and forth to the soldier shack as the signal isn't great out there.

The fog of war was very interesting to observe. James really suffered by being out on the far flank of his army and unable really to see and respond to what was going on. He did say he missed the "Eye of God" element of usual wargaming.

The OHW were ideal (from my perspective) for this. Not too complicated and quick to enact and play through. The skirmishers seemed a bit tougher than I'd expect but given the abstract nature of the game I think that's just about fine. Another alternative would be one of the "Rampant" series of games. In fact I'm thinking of trying a NWF variant using "The Men Who Would Be Kings"

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Ogre Mournfangs

Steve very generously bought me these for my birthday.
Possibly last year, more realistically the year before.

Lovely models, massive and hard to photograph - but great.

I shall look forward to crushing my enemies (Steve) underfoot.