Sunday, September 23, 2018

SAGA and DBA on a Thursday Night

This past Thursday night, esteemed gentlemen from the Old Dominion Military Society gathered in Newport News, Virginia for the weekly gaming night.  The featured games were SAGA and DBA 3.0 (modified).  I am pleased to report that there was a great turnout and that there were no less than 3 SAGA games going on simultaneously as well as a couple of back to back DBA matches.

We are about to embark on a SAGA campaign run by one of our members, and I think everyone is beginning to get warmed up with preliminary matches.

Here are some pics of the action.

Vikings vs Saxons beginning deployment

Vikings charge the Saxons

Saxons maneuver around a hovel

"Hey, quit throwing javelins over here."

Beautiful work by Evil Bob's Painting Service

"These Welsh are hard to catch. They keep running away !"

Viking attack !

Saxons hold firm

Welsh counterattack against a bunch of Viking shield-maidens

Anglo-Danes advance against the resolute Scots

DBA action

Beautiful DBA game

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

1815 Action using General d'Armee

Last week, the gentlemen from the Old Dominion Military Society convened in Newport News, Virginia to play out an ahistorical clash between Comte d'Erlon's powerful I corps versus a hastily assembled group of allied troops under William, Prince of Orange.

The rules used were General d'Armee and they shined in this corps vs corps battle. We had previously played several smaller games with the rules, but the rule mechanics and concepts proved to be outstanding in a larger battle like this one.

The French I Corps advanced from the left towards the allied troops defending the area around the town of Gosselies. 

In our scenario, the French had advanced through Charlerois several hours earlier with minimum effort, but the allies had reformed more efficiently than they did historically. Prince William was able to gather a large force of Dutch, Belgians, Brunswickers, and troops from Nassau to defend the area of Gosselies, which lies  between Charlerois and Quatre Bras. Historically, Reille's corps led the march to Brussels, but in our game, the honor went to I Corps.  The objectives were simple; the French had to thrash the allied troops and continue their advance before the end of 16 turns, while the allies had to remain on the field of battle and deny the French their victory condition. 

d'Erlon's infantry divisions advanced all across the line, while the cavalry division under Jacquinot moved forward in a flanking maneuver on the French left. The allies' defense was centered on the town, with most of the artillery and the Dutch/Belgian troops deployed in and around the town. The Nassau infantry held the allied left flank, while the Brunswickers stood firm on the right. 

From the first turn, the French suffered artillery casualties and command/control problems. Their advance through the woods slowed to a crawl. Meanwhile, the Brunswick jagers proved to be troublesome, causing casualties on the French hussars and horse guns while firing from wooded terrain. On the French right, d'Erlon's infantry managed to push the Nassauers back initially in a nicely supported attack, but the allies bent but did not break.  The French attack on the town went nowhere and the guns wreaked havoc on the approaching columns. The Dutch militia stood firm in the town as the French retreated and faltered.

The French commanders were aggressive and bold in their attacks, but suffered from poor die rolls and rough terrain to advance through. The allies planned a masterful defense and proved to be a very tough nut to crack ! 

A lucky die roll saw Grant's 4th British cavalry brigade arrive on the field and advance to engage the French cavalry on the allied right. After a couple of charges and counter-charges, the French cavalry advance was stopped and the British cavalry were victors for the time being. 

After 8 turns, the decision was made to award the allies with a victory. The French center had routed and remained faltered, while both flank attacks were stopped in their tracks.  All players agreed that the rules provided an excellent game; the flow was very smooth.  Both sides played with passion and competence, but this day belonged to the allies. With a group of 10 players, we averaged 30 minutes real time for each turn. I, as GM, was very pleased with this. I can't wait to put on another game of General d'Armee !

Here's more pictures of the terrain and the game in progress. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

1809 Italy using Carnage and Glory 2

We recently convened in Roanoke, Virginia to play out a Napoleonic rear-guard action set in Italy during the 1809 campaign.

The superb Carnage and Glory 2 computer-moderated rules were used and the fight did not disappoint. The hospitality, food, great beer and schnapps were appreciated by all !

The scenario was set during the 1809 campaign in Italy. The Archduke John had pushed the Franco-Italian forces under Eugene back during the month of April, 1809.  Stretching his supply lines a bit too far, John retired to reorganize.  In our scenario, an Austrian rearguard is holding up a French pursuit on April 30th, 1809. The action starts at 2:00 pm and concludes at nightfall, which is approximately 7 pm (the computer controlled when simulated nightfall occurred). 

After about 10 hours of gameplay, the French under Eugene seemed to have the Austrians on the run, especially on the Austrian right flank. With a couple of turns to go, disaster struck as the Austrian cavalry broke through in perfect position to scoop up several Italian units on the Franco-Italian right flank. This action threw the Italians back and the Austrians retreated in good order as darkness fell. This action turned a French minor victory into a minor Austrian victory !  The fight was a close one until the end, with both sides demonstrating competence and bravery.  Kudos to Doug Kline's Austrians at the end !

Here are some pictures of the fight and of Doug Kline's (of Battlefield Terrain Concepts) magnificent terrain. 

Thursday, August 9, 2018

General d'Armee in Newport News, Virginia

Over the past two months, we have played 2 games of General D'Armee that were well-attended by members of the Old Dominion Military Society (ODMS). Both games were meant to be demonstration games in order to teach the rules to new players of the system.

The first game was an 1813 scenario pitting Bertrand's Franco-Italian Corps against a Russian Corps commanded by St. Priest just prior to the epic battle of Leipzig.  The fight was set in the late afternoon hours a couple of days prior to Leipzig and St. Priest's objective was to delay Bertrand in joining the rest of Napoleon's Grande Armee (and also to punch the French in the nose, making them pay for the ground) before withdrawing at nightfall.  The French victory conditions were centered on taking the Saxon town of Vockerode (approximately 50 miles north of Leipzig). The Russians, who unknown to the French were planning on retreating at nightfall, were focused on maximizing French casualties and delaying Bertrand's force.

There was a large group of gamers who wanted to see General D'Armee in action. Throughout the game, the players easily picked up the general mechanics and agreed that the flow was very smooth and seemed historically accurate.

The Russians, even with a few command and control issues, held out in the village and succeeded in "faltering" 2 French brigades. Although Bertrand's veteran French troops prepared for a proper assault on Vockerode, unlucky dice rolls doomed the initial French assault to be repulsed by the stubborn Russian troops. The game was called and the Russians declared a major victory....and then retreated into the night.

Here are some pics of the game:

The Russian center and left flank

Bertrand's Italian troops faced Russian jagers in the woods

Jagers sharpshooting

French troops face Russian guns in the center

The action intensifies

The Italians looked good, but could they win the day?

French assault the village of Vockerode !

Cossacks guard the Russian left flank but wavered in their orders

The initial French assault on the village was repulsed by the Russians

Another game was hosted a month later and featured the Battle of Maida 1806. Interest again was high and the scenario was played twice, with the French winning the first game, and the British coming out on top in the second fight. Here is a link to the scenario of Maida (originally written for Carnage and Glory, but revamped for General d'Armee): 

Again, the players very quickly picked up the mechanics and began to dive into the nuances of the system more in this game. Here are the pics of this game: 

British players ponder their strategy

An ODMS member eyes the battle !

British troops holding their position

A charge by French light cavalry didn't make a dent in the tough British infantry

Both games were a blast to host and it was great to see so much interest in the rules. General d'Armee is my rules set of choice (along with Carnage and Glory for large group games) and I am excited to continue building interest in the rules and putting on more games in the future.