Monday, 19 April 2021

Culloden Using A Gentleman's War Rules

 I ran a Culloden game at my club (outdoors and all wearing masks) last Saturday. It was one day off from the 275th anniversary of battle. I was in a quandary as to which rules to use as, in the real battle, the odds were strongly stacked against the Jacobites. So I decided to try Howard Whitehouse's A Gentleman's War (AGW) because the card activation mechanic makes for greater uncertainty, which can be infuriating at times if one is used to more predictable game progression. As it turned out, between the card draws and very poor dice rolling by one of the Government players, the day was won by the Jacobites.

I wish to thank PMCD Mobilisatie, whose Culloden game video inspired me to paint 60 tartans and Dirk who sent me encouragement and spare parts.

2nd remote game on 2021 April 12th: scenario : Athenian expedition to support a Greek rebelious city in Asia Minor

Again making use of dots instead of hexes (dot being the center of a hex). No need to mesure destances. A greek city in Asia minor has rebelled. Athens sends a military expedition to support the rebels. The local satrap has mustered Persian infantry and cavalry, and also hoplites from loyal Greek cities in Asia Minor. He has send his army with two generals in command Steven and geert are the commanders. Geert is leading the left flank. He has 3 units of light cavalry and one medium cavalry. Also 3 units of medium infantry, one being veteran. Steven has command over 3 units of skirmish infantry, 3 units of medium infantry and 2 hoplite (hevy infantry) units. Oposite to them are also 2 forces the Athenians on the Greek right: 3 units of hoplites, 1 skirmish unit and one medium infantry unit; All these units are veterans. The commander is Patrick. On the left are the units of the rebelious town: 4 units of hoplites (heavy infantry) one unit of skirmish infantry, one unit of medium infantry. Siegfried is the chief. To limit units being able to do many maneuvers , the generals have 2 command dice, except Geert, has one extra command die for the cavalry. The Greek start, but only siegfried has thrown ussefull commands, and moves forward. The Persians wait and use their skirmishers. Also in the second round, the Athenians do not move, due to lack of orders. The first row of siegfrieds hoplites close in to the Persian skirmishers. Most of them run to the rear, one has to fight but with little damage. Steven moved his medium infantry forward. Close combat had started. Still the Athenians stayed immobile. Geert decided to charge with his light horse in open formation. The two units that came in contact did not last long. Finally the Athenians started their advance. Geert's medium infantry suffered from the Athenian archers and were then charge by the hoplites. Also, the hoplites that had defeated the light horse moved towards the medium cavalry. On the other side, what seemed at first a walk over for the Greek hoplites, was turning against them. The Greek medium infantry was destroyed, their hoplite units had suffered losses and now the Persian allied hoplites closed in. The Persian light infantry also made casualties among the hoplites. Two Greek hoplite units were destroyed, the breaking point of the Greek left wing was imminent. On the other side the Athenians had broken two Persian medium infantry units, the third, being veteran was much tougher, stading ground against the hoplites. The persian left wing was also on breaking point due to the medium cavalry loosing their attached general. Both sides were at one loss away from defeat. It were the Athenians that prevailed over the Persian cavalry, making a very close victory.

Monday, 12 April 2021

A Gentleman's War 1914 Game

 I have been following the online writings of Ross Macfarlane going back to when he started the Little Wars Yahoo Group back in the day. So it was a real thrill for me when we were able to schedule a Zoom remote wargame. We used Howard Whitehouse' "A Gentleman's War" (AGW) rules which I hadn't played for almost two years. Fortunately, Ross, who had been a member of the play test volunteers, offered to take over the GM duties. I decided to pull out my 1900-ish French, who hadn't been on the table since the last time I played AGW and fielded my new, early WW1 Germans. The French are all shiny toy soldiers and the Germans are (almost) all plastics, painted with more realistic detail then the French, and I was concerned about a possible visual discord, but when I got them both on the table, it don't bother me at all. I set up a meeting engagement with exactly equal terrain on both sides. This, with both armies being equal in points led to a very well balanced, though somewhat predictable game. I placed all my infantry on the side opposite Ross' woods while he covered his side of the table more evenly, with his main attack force in the center, opposite the crossroads. As the infantry was generally in skirmish order with columns in support, causalities on both sides were minimal until the forces were close enough to attack. I launched one of my German infantry units against Ross' Alpin Chasseurs holding the woods and was beaten back in disorder. By this time we had both been able to garrison a house adjacent to the crossroads. Ross sent his Zouaves in a column attack on the house I was holding and he was beaten back, also in disorder. The melee system in AGW is somewhat complicated, but seems to make sense and yield an historical outcome. AGW is card driven, using a normal deck of playing cards, with the turn ending on the drawing of the second Joker. As it happened, we were able to go through the whole deck, the last card turned being the second Joker. I think we both learned some lessons, and a good remind of just how powerful magazine rifles are on formed troops, just like they did in 1914. As Ross wrote after the game: They began digging trenches that night.