Thursday, 21 August 2014

Tweaking Commands & Colors for the American War of Independence.

I'm feeling brighter this morning, family all due back this afternoon and I can't wait, I think it will be over the 'City' tonight for a couple of pints :-) Best pub in Dymchurch for me, but we are lucky enough to have a few within walking distance!   Dymchurch pubs.

I am now about ready to begin playing a few small games in order to test a couple of the 'tweaks' to the base Napoleonic rules. A series of recent posts on the 'Prometheus in Aspic' blog has discussed how the base game rules, excellent as they are in terms of being tried and trusted and producing well balanced, fast yet challenging games, could have a few small changes made to enhance and improve the command structure in particular. This includes being able to move and fight multiple 'units' together, where they share a common commander. Such is the design of C&C that a unit of say 4 blocks can represent a brigade, a division or whatever  according to the scenario. For my AWI version I want to represent individual companies of infantry (4 figures) and single artillery pieces on the table. IN reducing the scale (ground scale?), this would also mean that terrain should reflect this, so a wood should maybe be several hexes (as opposed to a single hex or two), as should villages and hills etc.

I need to make the final decision on what size of hex I intend to go with, bearing the above in mind. I have the choice basically of 95mm or 125mm, having stocks of these size hexes available. A standard size 9 x 13 hex grid using the 125mm hexes gives a table of just under the standard 6' x 4' size and looks about right with my 28mm figures, so far so good. However, when I lay out the figures/companies on this size hex something bothers me, the 'companies' look too far apart to represent conjoined units. I think the picture below illustrates this:

Here are 5 companies of continental infantry, commanded by a 'leader' base laid out on 125mm hexes:




However, when I change down to the 95mm hexes things look much better to my eyes, the extended infantry lines look good, BUT - there is barely room on the hexes to place trees or houses or other terrain times on the hexes.


But if we bear in mind the fact that a village/small town or woods can be represented by 4 or 5 (or more) of the 95mm hexes it can be made to work.

Here we see the 5 companies with 3 in the woods and the leader base unattached behind ( but still commanding all 5 companies.


Now the 'commander has moved and attached to one of the companies in the woods, they all fit OK.


This is a 5 hex village/town. All five companies can occupy this area and combats will be fought hex by hex under normal C&CN rules. A temporary victory point could be awarded for the general controlling the majority of the village as in some Napoleonic scenarios.



I really like the look of this! Given the fact that the board comprises 121 hexes I don't see any problems in using larger areas of perhaps 4 to 6 hexes representing major terrain features like hills, woods, BUA's etc. I need to test this by playing through an attack on such a feature, but don't see any problems?

Size matters?
One problem is that the table size looks quite small using the normal 13 x 9 grid with 28mm figures. Having been racking my brains over this for at least several weeks now I have come to a conclusion at last ..... I think ...... why not use the 95mm hexes on an extended grid on a 6 x 4 table? I have not quite worked it out yet but I think it should come down to something like 11 x 16 hexes as a playing area. I could of course outline the central 9 x 13 hexes so that I can play the 'unofficial' scenarios when I want to, or bigger games on the larger grid should I wish.

Having set it up to take the pictures I'm now convinced that I should stick with 95mm hexes when I mark up my boards 'Foy style'. What do you think?

For anybody who has not seen the C&C rules I have included links to official GMT games downloads. I have added the ancients versions as they contain several interesting ideas, one such being the 'line advance' cards (4 per pack) that allows a general to move and fight multiple units together and ties in with Tony's thoughts as posted on his 'Aspic' blog.

In spite of the hex grid I still think this gives the impression of a fairly traditional looking wargame. My plan is to have several such 'battalions' each commanded by a captain or such rank, and then to have a higher level commander (Major?) who may command say 2 or 3 such battalions in line with the ideas posted by Tony for a higher command structure for C&CN.

Links to rules.

C&C Napoleonics rules booklet - GMT PDF.

C&C Anciherents - 3rd Edition rules official GMT Games PDF.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

A bad night.

Yesterday I spent some time trying to get my thoughts down on how to adapt C&C Napoleonics for use with my AWI figures. It was a pleasant day, I got a fair bit done and was ready to set up some illustrative pics this morning. My wife and daughters are having a few days in Blackpool while I offered to stay at home and look after our dogs and cats. I was planning to finally mark up my game boards and possibly make some terrain pieces while they were away.

Last night around 10pm there was a knock on the door, the guy across the road had collapsed.  I went across and helped to get him onto his back for CPR as it was apparent that he was barely breathing. First Responder took just 4.5 minutes to arrive, followed by paramedics. They fought for forty five minutes to save him but he died. He was only 46 years old. I had seen him at 5pm, when he waved and smiled at me as he got into his car.

This morning, after a few hours sleep I was out early with the dogs, trying to fathom why or how this could happen to such a relatively young man. The sun is shining, it's a fine morning, it seems so unfair.

Today I'm thinking how lucky we all are to have what we have in life.


Saturday, 16 August 2014

'Black Kinch' and a new arrival.

I present Major Alphonsus Kinch - surely the 'black sheep' of the Kinch family - in the service of the Continental army. What he lacked in morals he made up for in courage on the field of battle I understand, being once shot through the buttocks whilst turning to wave on his men, a wound that left him unable to sit comfortably for the rest of his life. I could just not resist painting a figure after reading this:

Egads. The dastards turning on their rightful King. It will be shame of the parish. 

I believe the Kinch of whom who speak is Major Alphonsus Kinch. Originally intended to be a clergyman, he left the seminary after running up considerable gambling debts. A brief career as a publisher of French "philosophical books" came to an abrupt end after he was offered a far more profitable billet on the Antonia, a Bristol slaver. Mainly remembered in the family these days for entering Irish legal textbooks as the most prolific bigamist in Leinster history. 

I believe the case of The Crown v. Kinch (1773) is still quoted today. 

A thoroughly bad egg to be sure. 



Black Kinch and the boys!
I'm really just using up a few left over figures here, managed to get another British command base too. The 'Kinch' figures are Wargames Foundry figures, from the package received from Dublin.



Also as requested here is another pic of Liberty Ellie, completed and based. I added the cords from twisted cotton and burned a few shot holes through the flag. The final touch was a pink cockade!




A new arrival.
I have featured our pets here on numerous occasions, we currently have four cats and a large Golden Retriever who is now eleven years old. Today we shall be joined by 'Tilly' a year old Staffie in need of re homing. The process has taken ages - I'm sure it would be faster to adopt a child! Sadly her owner is unable to keep her due to ill health, she will be given a loving home here and I'm sure she will feature in a few photos on the blog in  due course of time. She's used to living with cats so hopefully all will go well this afternoon when we meet her.






Thursday, 14 August 2014

American marksmen & another C&C tweak!

Enjoyable and thought provoking post on the 'Aspic' blog yesterday re 'tweaks' to the C&C Napoleonics rules. I must say that I have always played the game to the rules for the Napoleonics scenarios, although it has bothered me that there is no command structure for 'leaders'. For the AWI variant however tweaks are needed to make the game more period specific.

To represent the fact that British officer casualties were very high during the war - probably owing to the deliberate targeting by riflemen or sharpshooters - the variant rules reflect this by giving 'leader' bases a +1 battle dice when attached to a unit in melee, but if the unit takes a hit then the normal leader casualty throw is made but using only a single dice, requiring just a 'sabre' symbol to take him down, which in turn earns a Victory Point for the American commander.

So I present my unit of rifle armed marksmen (Perry), and I intend to test play an additional small 'tweak' for these in order to add a further touch of spice to the game.

"When American marksmen are within 3 hex range of any 'leader' base (attached or unattached) they get a single dice throw (when ordered) to determine if the officer has been hit. A crossed saber throw will remove him for a Victory point."

Next week I intend to finally get round to making the new base boards. I'll be marking up the boards in 125mm hexes to match the pile of hexes and river sections I already have from ERM. I'll be hoping for a result similar to this. 

4 Riflemen/marksmen.




Tuesday, 12 August 2014

F&D British Grenadiers, Kinch's boys and Liberty Ellie!

I mentioned in a previous post that I had received a large parcel of unpainted 28mm figures from 'CK'. Having now pulled out a good 20 figures suitable for use in the AWI, including some nice character figures and 8 cavalry with horses ( and great figures too, perfect for AWI and a good match for my Perry's/F&D's) I am left with 50+ castings, mostly French Revolutionary period I think, that I'l happy to pass on as Mr Kinch suggested. I include a pic below and if anybody would care to make use of them please email me and you are most welcome to share in my bounty.

British Grenadiers by Fife and Drum Miniatures.
Painted 4 of the above and I'm very pleased with them. Just need to re check details for the bearskins and then varnish to finish them. I'm doing another 4 at the moment.



Edit* The above Grenadiers following a touch up to lace and a thin inking along the straps etc. Correct silver front plate added.

Fife & Drum Grenadiers and lights so far!



'Kinch's Boys' - Irish immigrants in the service of the Continental army.
It never hurts to have a fictitious unit on the table does it?  These four figures are from the stash sent by CK, not totally correct I know, but wonderful figures and I desperately wanted to paint a few thus 'Kinch's Irish Volunteers'. They have acquired French style uniforms and dyed them green, which makes them look quite dandy! They are a tough fighting bunch and will be seen in action shortly, fighting in the Continental line of battle. I like these.



Liberty Ellie - boosting morale of the troops!
Another gem of a find in the package that arrived from Dublin was this female figure of the French Revolutionary period. She was in a bit of a sorry state having lost much of her paintwork so I decided to give her a repaint.


After a quick paint job and the addition of a tricorn and flag this was the result:




'Ellie' will feature in my games boosting the morale of the Continental army no doubt! Great fun to paint and I have a unique figure in my collection. I'll burn a few holes in the flag once her base is finished.

Finally - a couple of shots of the 50 odd figures going free! You can see they are nice castings. First to contact me will get them.

lgramson@yahoo.com






Monday, 11 August 2014

More 28mm AWI shots.

I had a run through of the 'unofficial' AWI rules yesterday morning using the 8 card hand and was pleased with how well the moves flowed. It was just a test game, played on the old felt mat grid - the intention being to produce an improved version rather like that used the 'Prometheus in Aspic' blog (here). As said before, my aim is to be able to play through the published scenarios using a simple figure per block system. To date the scenarios published are the following:


ARTICLE TITLEAUTHORHITS
DP02 Bunker Hill (17 June 1775)David and Michael Pitts2315
DP05 Hubbardton (7 July 1777)David and Michael Pitts1368
MM01 Brandywine Creek (11 September 1777)Mark McGilchrist1845
MM02 Germantown (4 October 1777)Mark McGilchrist1286
MM03 Monmouth Courthouse (28 June 1778)Mark McGilchrist1243
MM04 Monmouth (28 June 1778)Mark McGilchrist1712
DP01 Camden (16 August 1780)David and Michael Pitts1226
DP03 Cowpens (17 January 1781)David and Michael Pitts1291
DP04 Guilford Court House (15 March 1781)David and Michael Pitts1283

As usual with Commands & Colors scenarios the emphasis is very much on the balanced game, and the AWI scenarios have been produced with this very much in mind, but they look fun to play.

I need to add a few more figures yet, Guards and Grenadiers plus more Continental line troops etc but I'm not far off. 

I'm using the play sheets I made up last year, but I may need to tweak them to match the variant rules (for example - Continental line use the 'Spanish' factors, but I wanted to make them more of a match for the British regulars). It will come together now I'm sure, and overall I can see it should work well for quick games.

Took a few pics at the start to show the collection so far. Once done I'll be focusing on building up more conventional forces using Fife & Drum Miniatures.

Militia in front!

Supported by line troops.

Light infantry.

The playsheets.

2 companies of riflemen - range = 3 hexes.

Queens Rangers.

Continental line.

British 'hatmen' companies.
I also took a few more 'posed' pictures of my command bases.





And finally, a couple of shots showing comparison between Perry plastics and metals as discussed on TMP. I think they are a fine match.

L to R - metal, plastic, metal, plastic.

L to R - metal, plastic, metal, metal, plastic.

L to R _ metal, plastic, metal, plastic, metal, metal, plastic.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Catching up again.

I can barely believe it's been two weeks since I last updated the blog, time seems to fly by. Some domestic upheaval has slowed painting right down for what seems like weeks now, eldest daughter taken into hospital for a week so grandaughter stayed over with us, just as my wife is setting into a new job and shift pattern. The usual family stuff really, all OK now and nothing too serious. The weather has been very good down here thankfully so the pool went up in the garden and that kept
them all happy!

This post is really a prelude to what will be an AWI battle report within the next day or so. I have been itching to play a good old game of toy soldiers for weeks now so I'm going to enjoy myself and have some fun with this. It will be the 'unofficial' AWI variant of C&C Napoleonics with a few tweaks of my own. 'Leaders' will be organised in a more accurate chain of command, and when leaders attach to a unit that is under his command he gives a +1 combat dice when in melee. However, the downside of this is that he places himself at risk - obviously - so when a unit with an attached leader loses a figure there is a 'Leader casualty roll as normal, but with only a single dice requiring a 'sabre' to remove the leader. I think this idea may have originated from Tony at the 'Aspic' blog, but its good and ideal for AWI where officer casualties were extremely high.

I'll also be using the 8 card hand, where a player may play up to 2 command cards (sector cards only), together, until such time as the hand is reduced to 5. This gives some benefits to early stage movement I find.

I'll be using Perry miniatures for this game, all individually based, one figure replacing one block. Plan is to set it up this evening and play it in the morning before the dining table is required for the Sunday roast :-) I will of course take pics, but here's just a taster (Below). The game will be fought at company level.

Fife & Drum. I decided after much thought that the beautifully sculpted F&D figures are going to be far more suited to a more conventional project, and I now intend to begin a new side project, long term, no rushing, to build up armies for British Grenadier style games. I'll add a few more Perry's yet so that I can play through the  AWI scenarios on cc.net, but my focus will now switch to F&D.

Generosity - I'm a little behind with emails, but I want to mention a couple of acts of generosity and kindness at the hands of fellow bloggers. Firstly Old John, I asked John if I could see a few samples of the Douglas Crimean range and was amazed at the number of figures he sent me, probably covered just about all the range! I decided not to go with these, but they are very good and if anybody would like some of these samples to look at they are most welcome.

From Dublin arrived a very heavy package, even the postman commented on the weight and noticed the declaration 'Toy Soldiers' written on the back. It was of course from none other than 'CK' and contained a huge number of early French revolutionary wars figures in 25mm among other delights, I had known nothing about this, they just arrived in the post with a lovely hand written note, so thank you my friend. Now, having picked out those larger figures that I can use with my AWI's I'm left with a lot of figures that I am happy to pass, in accordance with CK's wishes. I'll get a few pics later to show what's there, please bear with me.

Couple of pics - command bases and Royal artillery. 28mm Perry Miniatures.