Sunday, 25 August 2013

More thoughts on C&C for the American Revolution.

I am grateful to 'greenknight' over at TMP for sharing his ideas for using the C&C system for AWI. Chris is doing much the same thing as I plan to do, albeit using 40mm figures. He has now sent me his adapted playsheet and I am incorporating it into my version. Chris actually started from the 'Battle Cry' ACW version (which I do have), and I like what he has done. To give you some idea of how he has injected period feel into the basic system I'll list just a few of his ideas here.

Firstly, he suggests a neat idea for using the command cards, dealing the basic hand of 5 to 6 cards and then an additional 6 cards per player. Each player then hands back 3 cards of his choice, leaving the basic hand plus 3 cards. During the game each side may play a single card OR two maneuver cards. Where a player does decide to play 2 cards he may only pick up one replacement. This puts some control back into the players hands and will allow increased maneuver of the troops.

Movement and fire rates are increased as follows: All formed infantry may now move 2 hexes and melee, or 1 hex and fire. Ranges are increased in line with Battle Cry, so most infantry now have a range of 3 hexes, with 4 for rifles.

Militia always roll a damage dice when contacted by regular non- militia troops and react accordingly. Veteran militia only need to make this test once, ignoring after that. Militia will retreat 2 hexes per flag, supports and generals may cancel this out as usual.

Chris also differentiates between troops in close order and loose order and light infantry are allowed to pass through friendly units. British lights are also allowed the option to move 1 hex and melee, counting as close order. I think this reflects well the period tactic.

I am also personally keen to introduce a 'low ammo' rule into this game, and to this end have produced a few experimental markers. I'd like to find something other than the 'short supply' card as a means of representing this, as the 'Hand of God' approach irritates me!

Thanks to Chris for sharing his ideas and the play-sheet and for his permission to post about it here.

I have started to paint up some of the planned 'Victory banner' stands for both sides as mentioned previously. I used printed flags for these as I wanted to distress them a bit for effect. I'll do 6 per side plus a couple of Hessian bases. So much nicer to play for than a card token don't you think? and should add a bit of colour to the overall game. Also added more Continental Dragoons and a couple of light 'battalion' guns. On order now are Hessian units and command, plus the newly released '17th light Dragoons' and various other odd packs. It's all coming together well now.

More to follow, all figures are of course 15mm from 'Peter Pig' (link).

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The 'wet palette' & more Continentals.

I recently came across the 'wet palette' on a 'Lardie' blog (link). It struck me as a really good idea and so simple it had to be  worth a try. I have noticed recently with the warm weather how quickly my paints (now mostly Vallejo) have been skinning over and drying up on the palette. As I'm spending a lot of time painting with breaks to do other household related stuff I was wasting a lot of paint, but this has changed everything! It is possible to keep a blob of paint 'open' for 2 to 3 days, so I can at any time just go back to the palette and start painting again. It's so simple and effective that I just had to share it here. It also means you can blend colours and even work wet into wet for shading and highlights etc. Picture shows the plastic lid, with a circle of thick kitchen roll which is then soaked and over laid with a circle of grease proof paper. Well worth a try if you spend a lot of time painting.

Here are the links to the two relevant 'Lardie' blog posts:

The wet palette #2.

The wet palette#1.

Commands & Colors for AWI.
I'm continuing to paint additional 'blocks' for this game. Latest 'units' are some Continental Dragoons (3 blocks) and a unit I could not resist having seen the wonderful Troiani image, that of Lee's Legion infantry, who reportedly procured purple dyed coats and breeches in 1779, along with Tarleton helmets. I have seen references to purple dyed hunting shirts before so why not? Very hard to get a shade that looks convincing, and I may well touch these up a little more before I'm fully happy with them.

An example of a purple hunting shirt of the AWI.
Commission work.
Taking it easy during the holiday period as the house is fairly busy, but I completed this 32 figure unit of ACW 'Richmond Greys' for the collection of 'Old John' 20mm figure of course from the same German maker as previously and I believe OOP. Early war frock coats with epaulettes and shakos give them a distinctive look.

This week I'll be working through a load of 6mm Heroics and Ros Austrian Napoleonics (including no less than 22 guns and crews!), and baggage trains before turning my attention to 3 more units of 20mm ECW cavalry. After that its back to John's ACW lead pile again!

Pictures below: Lee's Legion infantry and some Continental Dragoons. Martin at Peter Pig is currently working on more dragoons with the helmet front, suitable for the 17th and others.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

C&C for the AWI ..... a test run.

Lovely quiet day here, family all gone out for the day, so I thought I would take advantage and have a run through of my intended AWI game using individual figures to replace the wooden blocks on the C&C rules. I have been giving the rules a lot of thought and working on some initial troop tables (see below). I have now covered most of the infantry types and artillery, the cavalry rules I'm still working on. The armies currently stand as follows:

7 'units' of infantry including lights, grenadiers, line and a mighty 5 block guards brigade.
2 units of green coated loyalist infantry
1 unit of Indians
2 batteries of field guns.
3 'leader' figures.
1 unit of cavalry - light dragoons.

Continental Army.
6 units of Continental line
2 of light infantry
1 unit of riflemen
3 militia units
2 batteries of field guns
3 'leader' figures

Once again I stress that I am looking for a fun and fast game, with a reasonable period feel to it. I laid out the board with plenty of terrain tiles to represent large areas of light woodland with fordable streams running through and some expanses of hills. I then set the figures down fairly randomly as shown below. The Continental army is deployed across all three sections of the board, with the militia brigade formed upon the left flank, supported by light infantry and artillery. The main continental line troops are in the centre and right, with the rifle unit at extreme right where there is a lot of woodland in front.

I have adjusted all of the combat charts to fit the types of troops on the table and to reflect the AWI. For example, the riflemen are 4 blocks and essentially counted as 'reliable militia' who will fall back only 2 hexes per flag roll instead of 3 for most militia troops and just 1 hex for trained regulars, but they have fire combat capabilities of well trained shooters and those long rifles give them an advantage in range of 3 hexes over standard muskets (2). I consider all of the troops to be operating in a loose order over this broken terrain, but the designated light units have an advantage in move and fire combat. The two Loyalist units (Kings Royal Yorkers and Queens Rangers) I have rated slightly down on the British regulars and Continental line for this game. The only Indian unit I have experimentally given abilities based on them being reasonably good shots and somewhat fearsome in hand to hand combat, but they too will fall back 3 hexes on a flag roll. I may well make adjustments based upon how things go in this test game. I still need a few more units per side but this should be sufficient for a run through. I'm also working out how best to use 'battalion' guns, I'd like these light guns to have to remain in support of its parent unit, moving with it and employing 'combined arms fire' under the rules. Meantime the guns on the board are standard light field guns.

The game is a straightforward head on encounter to test the rules.

I ended up playing through about one and a half hours of turns, I really enjoyed it and liked the fluid feel of the battle. Combined arms worked well in this game as did most of the C&C tried and tested mechanics. The Guards were destroyed for being far too 'cocky' and advancing too far on a Grande manouever card, musketry and artillery fire at short range decimated them. They ignored 2 retreat flags due to their status, but would probably have been better to have withdrawn at that stage. The militia did not get into the fight but the main Continental infantry stood up well to the British regulars, despite an advantage to the Brits in melee combat. Only two VP's were actually won, had I played on no doubt they would have come thick and fast!

Overall I'm a happy man so far, this 'boardgame with figures' concept is perfect for me. I need to work on cavalry actions next and paint up more units, Hessians, light 'galloper' guns, Continental Dragoons etc, and of course some more suitable VP markers.

Took plenty of pictures as usual. Tomorrow it's back to finishing off a 32 figure unit of 20mm Confederate infantry for Old John, the 'Richmond Greys' in early war frock coat with epaulettes and shako.

The British left and centre deployment.

British right flank.

Continental right.

Continental left - light infantry supported by a brigade of militia.

Freshly painted! Indians and Loyalists.

Those Guards again, in reserve.

Continental line infantry - including two new units.

The British centre ready to advance.

Hard fighting along the centre following the rapid British advance.

The Guards reduced to 2 blocks!
Converged Grenadiers reduced to a single block  by Continental line supported by artillery.

Position at close of play - 14 British casualties to 10 American.

My newly created playsheets - the figures in the combat tables have been already rounded up or down where required according to troop type but may be subject to change.

A good day for the Continental army - they took the full force of the best British troops in the centre and held their ground firmly inflicting heavy casualties. 

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Abe Lincoln or Shane McGowan?

Just a few more pics to post here today, a lovely set of 10 ACW 'Gettysburg Movie' personality figures in 20mm. From the same German maker as previously,  as usual Old John will be the one to check with, these are of course for his collection. I'm not yet happy with the face of the Lincoln figure, at one stage I thought I'd really caught him but then went too far. I wanted to reflect his gaunt features and dark eyes but it just ended up looking more like Shane McGowan of The Pogues! I think the ears did it. I'm determined to give Lincoln due respect and improve those features.

I also added a few more 15mm AWI for my C&Cgame, 2 American batteries and 6 command figures, three per side for my test game. I've got a couple of 'units' of Loyalist infantry on the table now, including Butlers Rangers. I've been eyeing up those Indians on the Peter Pig website, so I'll be ordering those plus battalion guns, hessians and figures for the planned vignettes.

I'm sure there is a caption competition in that bottom photo!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Commands & Colors for the American War Of Independence.

I've had this in my mind for ages now, and as I said before, the final push came from seeing a post on TMP using figures on a game board to replace wooden blocks. C&C N are prefect for adapting to the American War of Independence, (unlike any other Napoleonic set I can think of), because they take little account of 'order' of units, a 4 block unit is a 4 block unit, but light infantry (as opposed to 'skirmishers' ) are well catered for, and individual types such as riflemen and militia are recognised. I started by seeing if I could fit the various troop types of the AWI roughly into the C&C troop categories, maybe slightly adjusting where necessary. I had to make a few decisions about levels of training etc, some of which I'll record here. Please bear in mind that my goal here is to be able to play some typically fast and fun C&CN style games with minimum set up time. But that said I DO want the game to have a realistic AWI feel.

Firslty, I decided to place British Regular line troops on a par with Continental line troops where fire combat and melee are concerned. I just felt that to do otherwise would tip the advantage too far in the favour of the British, given the number of other 'specialised troops' such as converged Grenadier and light infantry battalions and the inevitable Brigade of Guards, a formation comprising individual companies sent over from the Guards. I also needed to 'mark down' most militia battalions, and these fit well into the C&C 'Militia' category. I bear in mind a unit such as rifle armed crack shots are still classified as militia, but will be adjusted up for ranged shooting of course, and I feel that a 'retreat 2 hexes per 'flag' thrown is about right, 3 for standard militia and the usual 1 for line troops. Those militia units became pretty good shooters as things progressed, so things can be adjusted where required quite simply. I will see how all this goes down in practice.

Loyalist troops, Rangers etc will  also be classified according to historical quality when I get to that bit! Cavalry are more of a challenge, for a start there were so few of them, and they were used mainly in harassment and pursuit roles as opposed to head on charges against infantry formations, and so the 'form square' rule is of no value for the AWI. On the subject of troop formations I'm assuming here that all troops are fighting in the more typical 'loose order' formations of the war. British light infantry are also considered to be fighting in the same 'loose order' as opposed to full skirmish order, they being mainly deployed together as elite line troops, which I think is correct.

I only need to paint a few more 'blocks' and a few generals up before I'm ready for a test game, hopefully next weekend.

'Victory Point' Vignettes.
I plan to make the VP tokens, which are a central part of C&CN a bit special. Plan is to produce 6 per side of small (2p coin base) vignettes each featuring 2 or 3 figures including a standard bearer, and utilising some of the 'character' packs from the Peter Pig range. I hope this will add to the visual appeal of the game as well as a touch of historical pathos. As I want these to look as good as possible I plan to use Maverick Models again for the flags, I was very impressed by the 15mm Napoleonic flags I ordered, superb print quality with high definition of fine detail on good heavy paper, and you can have them re-sized to just your requirements.Very reasonably priced too.

I put everything painted so far (in about two weeks!) on the C&C board for a few pics. I love that board and setting up the terrain tiles etc, can't wait to try a test game. Any comments on the above, especially troop classifications most welcome, but please keep in mind that I'm looking for a fun and balanced game overall, so some compromise might be required.

I'm going to spend some time on the blog layout as I want to make projects such as the original 6mm C&C Napoleonics board more accessible to new followers. I also plan a couple more step by step painting guides, maybe in 15mm this time. I'm using more inks and different undercoat methods now, as well as incorporating a 'magic wash' at about mid stage, so it might be useful to demonstrate these.

The pictures - taken from various angles (light could have been better!) to show figures painted so far. I'm really pleased with the overall effect of combining the boardgame/figures.  American artillery are just awaiting basing and I hope to add a further 30 to 40 this coming week including Generals for both sides and some Loyalists. I also plan to add battalion guns which will be subject to special rules.

The overall effect so far - more troops to come yet!

A field gun on the hill with a Highland battalion to their flank.

The British line of battle - regular line just 'off the boat'.

British light dragoons with the 5 block Brigade of Guards moving up behind.

A brigade of Continental line await the order to advance.

Riflemen in the woods, may fire 3 hexes range.

The riflemen again and to thier left are light infantry and continentals in hunting shirts.

British converged light infantry.

Field gun supported by the converged Grenadier battalion.

Militia Brigade from the rear, a daunting sight ahead of the Redcoat line.

Friday, 2 August 2013

More 20mm ACW's.

More commission work.
Here are some more shots of the latest painted stuff for the collection of 'Old John'. It makes me smile to think that 400 or so pieces represents merely an addition to John's vast ACW collection! So far this time it's mostly camp scenes, HQ sets etc, but there is much, much more to come. As usual these 20mm figures are a joy to paint. Manufacturers are numerous and I'm sure John will answer any questions about this. The Bandsmen are pretty rare John tells me, they certainly make a lovely set. The inspiration for painting these came from the photo in the Time Life book 'Forward to Richmond' which clearly shows a Confederate band in a mix of 'Butternut' (never a single shade of course), and grey.

On a side note it's been interesting to learn that John and I were both members of ACW re- enactment society 'SOSKAN' at around the same time, John of course being a die hard Reb and I being a member of the 42nd 'Bucktails'. As John pointed out, he probably shot me a few times!! Great memories.

I have now completed around 100 15mm figures for this new 'quickie' project. Tomorrow I intend to put them on the C&C N board for some photos, and I will also outline my ideas for adapting the rules for this period. Another week should see this one finished, and then to follow will be some beautiful Pendraken ECW figures in 10mm for myself :-)

Hope you enjoy the pictures.