Thursday, October 23, 2014

Our game for Crisis: An Imperial disaster !

Finally Crisis 2014  is almost here and I'm really looking forward to this event. In my wargaming schedule it's the second ledger and it's an excellent opportunity to undertake a trip with friends before the stressful preparations for Christmas begin.
Belgian troops on their march to Puabla.

This year our club prepared a participation game taking place in the 1860s during the second French intervention in Mexico. During this so called Maximilian affair the French invaded Mexico and tried to install archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria as Mexican emperor and puppet ruler under their influence. After first successes Maximilian took over the reign in early 1864 but the Mexican opposition of former Benito Juárez never accepted him. Finally when the American Civil War was over the United States insisted on their Monroe Doctrine. Therefore the French decided to withdraw and dropped Maximilian like a hot stone. The emperor himself wasn't able to stabilise his power and underlay Juárez and his republican followers. In the end he was arrested and sentenced to death in 1867. On 14th May 1867 Mexico's last emperor was killed by a firing squad.
The Belgians marching on...
For Crisis we prepared a game following the 3rd battle of Puebla in 1867. Main part of it is a rearguard battle. The remains of the imperial and multi-national troops that stood true to Maximilian have to reach the strong Bastion of Guadalupe while the republicans try to cut them off from two sides.
French troops holding the fortress.
This year most of the work was done by our wargaming fellow Kalle whose special subject the Maximilian adventure is. But most other members supported the project with smaller or larger efforts: Preparing the boards, painting loads of miniatures, finishing some terrain pieces, creating a leaflet and so on. But most enjoyable of course was it to see everything come together in the games we played.
Multi-National troops unfold to face the republicans threatening their flank.
The game will be played after Warlord Games Blackpowder ruleset with stats for the units and special rules were re-designed for this very special conflict. We'll present the game on a 3.25m by 1.50m table and employ more than 400 miniatures by various companies, mostly Gringo 40s and Wargames Foundry.
The vanguard of the retreatng troops reach the bastion.
One of the centre pieces of the game is the fortress which our fellow Michael built about two years ago. Here he presented an interesting WIP diary and a couple of detail pictures.
The republicans chasing the flanks...
If you want to know more about Crisis then have a look at the website of TSA (Tin Soldiers of Antwerp) who host this event each November. We're on g4B01 in the center of the main hangar. You should find it easily on the map the TSA offer on their homepage (here). If you want to know who else is there, you'll need their legend (download link below the map).
During the next days I'll hopefully present a link to our club's page covering the game which is still under construction. However we'll have a PDF of our leaftlet there which is definitely worth having a look at. But that'll follow later...

I hope to see some of you in Antwerp !

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back with news...

My honest apologies that I was lost for the last weeks without notice. Fortunately there are no bad news connected to this. There was simply no time to get anything sorted for the blog because the last weeks were an extraordinary labour. We spent two weekends with trips and in between our younger daughter had to go to the hospital which of course didn't make things easier. Paired with flu and middle ear inflammation which haunted our family free time was short. Anyhow the last weekend with friends in Bavaria gave us the chance to clear our minds and catch some energy. Thus I'm optimistic that things'll go more orderly again...

So I'll keep marching on with the blog now !
With a tow, row, row, row, row, row, to the British Grenadiers. - A photo a friend of mine took of my minis.
But as the title promises there are some news to be published.
  • In two weeks there'll be Crisis 2014 in Antwerp taking place. The THS is preparing a presentation game dealing with the French intervention in Mexico during the 1860s. Especially our fellow Kalle but a lot of efforts in the project and we'll be happy to welcome any visitors at our table.
    More about the game itself and some pictures will follow this or next week.
  • For this year's "Secret Santa" and "Santa Clause" ventures the sails are set. I'll happily look for some nice things in Antwerp...
  • Currently I'm working on an article for a rather large wargaming magazine so the time with brushed and paints is very limited. Please excuse that you'll not see much progress during the next two weeks.
  • In the pipeline there are two AARs and two museum reviews. The pictures are more or less prepared so rather soon I'll be able to finish those.
  • I haven't forgot the announced raffle for my 100K step at Monty's Caravan. It'll take place soon...
During the next days I'll try to work off all your blogs. Be sure that I'll try to visit each of them but I'll not post comments everywhere.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Napoleonic bring and play - Some impressions of an epic gaming day

On Saturday some chaps and me met for a spontaneous and uncomplicated Napoleonic Black Powder game. Boiled down to the essence we simly agreed to bring the troops we wanted to play and constructed two equal armies. One of course the French forces with some allies like Saxon and Westphalian troops and on the other side British and Prussian forces. So we started at nine in the morning and arranged an enormous table with a couple of tables and a ping-pong table. We played until evening and the game didn't find a clear winner unfortunately. But nevertheless we had a great time and actually that was all this day was about.

Although a complete AAR is rather difficult I want to share some impressions of the game with you:
Marshall Davout gathers his division.
Simultaneously the Light Cavalry of the Guard arrives out of nowhere.
To balance the forces slightly we used the point system from "Albion Triumphant - Vol. II". Each of the armies had about 2,100 points.
The French forces marching on...

... and their allied counterparts.

I commanded some British and Hanoverian forces most of with advanced on and along the road.
To have enough room to manoeuvre all the troops we needed a large table. But on the other hand we had to be able to reach into the middle of the table. So we arranged them as a cross of tables. There the French got the first turn and unfolded very well. The lucky frogs past all their command rolls during this phase of the game...
The French dashing into the centre of the table.
They seem to be fear not being prepared to cross rivers since their experience in Russia...

But nevertheless they rely on their line infantry.

The Polish brigade marches steadily.
On the other side of the table we allies were slower unfortunately. Especially my Prussian allies failed several command rolls and slowed us down.
Blücher and his troops get mixed up.

The French light cavalry of the guard pushed forward into the center of the field.
Meanwhile the first Prussians make up some ground.
A French general lost touch to his cuirassiers that got scattered by Prussian musket volleys.
The allies still trying to enter the center part of the table to unfold.
But only single Prussian units are successful and threatened by French cavalry at once.
The Prussian right wing and center blocked by a defiant cavalry brigade as well as a disobedient infantry brigade.
The French tropps - Westphalians here - try to tie up their opponents.
But finally British cavalry reaches the field of glory - Now Scots Greys !
And at least some movement in the center of the allies.
Unfortunately we didn't reach a decision until the end of the day. Although the French had an excellent position in the middle of the battlefield there were several scenes which were dominated by the allies. Some Prussian units proved tougher than expected and Prussian and British heavy cavalry descended upon the French simultaneously hitting their horse artillery and light cavalry heavily.
The battlefield during the end of the game.
Anyway at the end of the day we all had a good time and we all had successful as well as disappointing moments. An excellent day with the chaps and nobody missed those detailed scenarios and well prepared games we used to play most of the time. Just plain and simple fun this time.