Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cossack Attack

Snow everywhere. Well around here anyway. Seemed like a good day to play the obligatory Cossack attack on the retreating Grande Armee'.

An ad hoc Ligne company trudges through the snow in column of companies while an understrength squadron of mixed horse scout to left and right.

 The enemy appeared by random roll, straight ahead in three large groups.

 The Cossacks attack left, center, and right. The mixed horse race past the infantry to reform behind.
 The center Cossack unit is decimated by a close range volley. The Cossacks lose their hetman as well as the gorup leader.
 The cavalry counter-charge! The left flank Cossack unit is routed! On the right the Cossacks and cavalry pass, with the cavalry losing half their number.
 The cavalry pursue the two fleeing Cossack groups, while the infantry turn the third rank 180 degrees.
The only surviving Cossack leader thinks better of continuing the conflict and rides off to consolidate his position as the new hetman.

The Grande Armee' lost only two cavalry figures or about 10 troopers.

The Cossacks lost 12 figures of 31 engaged and 3 out of 4 leaders. A dismal performance by any standards. However it is worth noting that in the two flank melees the Cossacks enjoyed a 2:1 superiority. Had the cavalry been routed the infantry company would have been in a precarious position, having to trade the security of all round defense, for continued movement down the road. If the Cossacks could have conducted a second charge at the right time the issue would have been very much in doubt. As always you may click on the photos to see a larger version.

Figures are from Alternative Armies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fetterman: Hundred in the Hand Batrep Conclusion

Start of Turn 5
Having detected the warriors to the south west, Fetterman hatched a cunning plan. Grummond's cavalry was to confront the new threat, while the infantry retired along the Bozeman, hopefully keeping the pursuing warriors at bay with controlled volleys.
Cavalry skirmish line forms
Grummond duly formed line and dismounted, releasing the horses to fend for themselves. If any of his men were to leave the valley they would do so on foot.  The repeater armed cavalry quickly put a stop to the threat of encirclement from the southwest but not without loss.

Meanwhile, the infantry succeeded in keeping the main body of warriors at arm's length. Things were looking up for the US.

Naturally the next batch of warrior reinforcements appeared in sector 5, right behind the infantry line. Worse yet they resolved into two mounted warbands which promptly charged. One infantry figure went down doing a fair impersonation of a pin cushion. The remainder broke and ran. 
Feets don't fail me now!

Any veteran of the frontier knows that running from warriors is seldom the correct move. Soon the shrieking and whooping foe were riding among the fleeing troops counting coup and wreaking havoc.
The end is nigh

Emboldened perhaps by the success of their fellows, the warbands to the southwest, redoubled their efforts and overran the cavalry skirmish line.

It was all over in a matter of minutes.

In the end the entire US force was eliminated for the loss of eight warrior figures out of the fight, about half that number fled, and a few ponies slain.

Had I accepted the loss of Fetterman's infantry as a fait accompli, Grummond's horse could have been saved.

The infantry having taken possession of the rocky summit of Massacre Hill would probably been able to hold off the warriors long enough for the mounted troops to have made their escape.

Still from what I have read of Lt. Grummond, he would have chosen to stay and fight rather than have a cloud cast upon his bravery by abandoning the infantry to their fate.
Nothing to see here. Please move on.

As was the case historically, Captain Ten Eyck's relief column was treated the sight of warriors riding too and fro, shooting at something on the ground and taunting him to come down off Lodgepole Ridge and have a go at them. The Captain wisely declined the invite.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fetterman: Hundred in the Hand Batrep pt. 1

The initial turn started with the Possible Enemy Forces (PEF's) in sectors 5 and 6 turning out to be false alarms. That was a good break. The PEF in sector 4 resolved into a single warband. None of the other PEF's were visible.

Ominous movement to the West
Knowing a good thing when he saw it Fetterman turned his skirmish line about and headed back for Lodgepole Ridge (the exit area). Grummond's detachment also headed south down the Bozeman.

The following turn the warband continued to close while one PEF to the west also resolved into a single warband across the Peno. The recently removed PEF's all arrived on the west side of the table deep in the piney woods.

Warriors fore and aft
Meanwhile Fetterman moved his line towards the summit of Massacre Hill, while Grummond continued south on the Bozeman.

First shots
The eastern warband moved up hill as well and loosed a hail of arrows that fortunately had no effect. The infantry fired a volley, dropping two warriors and sending a third running. Only the Rep 5 warrior was left.

With the first shots of the game fired, warbands continued to pour out of the woods.

Movement in the Wood
Worse yet, a combination of PEF placement die rolls and lack of visibility from the infantry position led to a buildup of PEF's to the south west corner of the table.

The Rep 5 warrior band was finally dispersed as its Rep dropped to 3 and it failed its Been Shot At test and fled.

The Bozeman was clear but for how long?

Turning the infantry line about and reaching the summit one can only imagine Fetterman's reaction on seeing the woods below him roiling with warriors out for his hair.

They charge!
And there we leave the tale for now...
End of turn four, looking west

Fetterman: The Hundred in the Hand: A Six Gun Sound: Blaze of Glory Scenario

In a recent post on , Armand asked, among other things, if anyone had played a game of the Fetterman Fight. Indeed I had a long time ago. Spurred on by that post is an updated version of the scenario.
The following scenario is written with our Two Hour Wargames’ “Six Gun Sound: Blaze of Glory” rules in mind. 

Fetterman: The Hundred in the Hand

December 21, 1866

Grummond's Cavalry

Fetterman's Infantry
Overview: Lured out of Fort Phil Kearny, Captain William J. Fetterman, leading a force of 80 men drawn from companies A, C, E, and H, 18th Infantry and C company 2nd Cavalry was ambushed and encircled by 1,000 to 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors. Not one man of Fetterman’s command escaped the trap. Play begins at the moment the trap was sprung. The scenario presumes, with great optimism I might add, that Captain Fetterman realizes he has fallen into a trap and that he must now extricate as much of his command as possible. The warriors wish to prevent any of the soldiers from escaping.

The Table: Lay out a 6’ by 4’ area. A larger area could well be used, that’s just the size of my snow mat. Label one short edge as north. The table is a valley running north to south. The west edge is a tree covered ridge. The east edge is barren ridge. In the middle of the table is another north/south ridge, “Massacre Hill”.
Between the west ridge and Massacre Hill lies a stream, Peno Creek. The stream originates near the south end of the western ridge and flows north eventually running off table to the North West.
Between Massacre Hill and the eastern ridge is a path, the Bozeman Trail. The Bozeman enters the table from the southern end and heads North West just past Massacre Hill, eventually exiting the north table edge.
The southern tip of Massacre hill has some large rocky outcroppings that make dandy cover. A similar feature exists about midway along the hill.

Table Layout and Deployment

Deployment: The US forces begin in two groups. Lt. Grummond’s group of four mounted figures starts the game just about on the north table edge, centered east-west. This group has three figures with early repeating carbines (Spencers) and one with repeating carbines (Henrys). Capt. Fetterman’s group of 6 infantry, plus a mounted Fetterman, deploy along the Bozeman about three quarters of the way to the north edge of the table. Fetterman’s men are armed with muzzle loading rifles (Springfields).
All of the soldiers are Rep 4, with the exception of Grummond’s figure (Rep 5). Fetterman is also Rep 5 although note that as an individual, his Rep is used for leadership purposes only. See the modifications to Six Gun Sound below for more details.
The warriors begin as six Possible Enemy Forces (PEF) deployed three on the west and three on the east table edge, about equidistant along each side.

How the game progresses: At this point, activation is rolled for and play proceeds as outlined below under the changes to Six Gun Sound.
In essence each active PEF will move 0-6” towards the nearest soldier. When a soldier has line of sight to a PEF it is “resolved”. This consists of rolling 1d6 and consulting the table below: 
PEF marker: What spooked that bird?

Die Roll
1 mtd plus 1 foot warband
1 foot warband
1 mounted warband
1 foot warband
1 mounted warband
False Alarm

Each warband consists of one Rep 5, two Rep 4, and one Rep 3 warrior. All warriors are armed with bow and melee weapon.
The initial six PEFs will always be foot warbands, unless a six is rolled, in which case there is no warband at all.
At the start of each turn, any PEF’s removed the previous turn are diced for. The score of 1d6 indicates which warrior deployment area where the PEF enters the table.
As you can see this creates a varied placement and number of warriors, giving the scenario great replay value.

Actions for non player controlled warbands: Any warband not being run by a player simply fast moves towards the nearest enemy figure and opens fire. Any figure that runs out of ammunition will charge in for melee.

Victory conditions or how can I win this thing?: This scenario is not intended to be played as a conventional two sided game. Rather players may take the role of one of the leaders of one side or the other.
One player, playing as Fetterman: Exit as much of your force as you can from the south table edge. I leave it up to you to determine if you achieved a victory.
Two players, playing as Fetterman and Grummond: Each player takes command of 3 infantry and 2 cavalry figures. The player that does not control Grummond does control Fetterman. Victory goes to the player that exits the most figures off the south table edge. Failing that, victory goes to the last player with figures in play. Note that the Fetterman figure does not count towards fulfilling these victory conditions.
One to six players, playing as warriors: Each player is assigned an entry area in any agreed upon manner. A player controls any warbands generated by PEF’s that entered from his or her zone. Victory goes to the player whose forces eliminate the most soldier figures. Soldier figures eliminated by non player warbands do not count towards victory.
By combining these options it is possible to have up to eight players with the soldier and warrior players competing among themselves for victory.

Changes to Six Gun Sound: Blaze of Glory for this Game
Long before I started work on Six Gun Sound: Blaze of Glory (hereafter SGS for short) I had cobbled together a set of rules for the Indian wars named “Comancheria”. By taking some of the design decisions and data in Comancheria, it is possible to play larger engagements than the single figure ratio of SGS allows.

1.       Scale: Each figure represents about 8 men/horses and each inch represents 25 yards lateral distance. Time scale remains flexible although we may assume that each turn is somewhat longer than typical SGS turn.

2.       Weapons:
a.       Muzzle loading rifles have an effective range of 8” and maximum range of 24”.
b.      Repeating and early repeating carbines have an effective range of 6” and a maximum range of 18”.
c.       Bows have an effective range of 6” and a maximum range of 12”.
d.  Due to the increased game scale treat muzzle loaders as single shot rifles so far as Fumbling for Cartridges is concerned. However they may only fire once per turn. Spencers are treated as revolvers, bows as bows. Only the Henry armed figure is treated as a repeating carbine.

3.       Shootin’ Table and Damage: Even though each figure represents 8 men, the percentage calculations hold true. Ignore the specific body parts mentioned as being hit except insomuch as a hit on a figure in cover would be negated. Any wound effect such as “-1 to Rep when firing…” simply translates as a minus to that figure’s Rep. Any Out of the Fight, or Obviously Dead result removes a figure from play. When passing 1d6 on a leg wound under “I’m Hit”, the figure suffers no damage.

4.       Leave No Man Behind: Any soldier figure that has suffered a reduction in Rep due to a combat result now has some wounded men to tend to. A foot figure moves at half rate. A mounted figure must dismount and move as a foot figure above.

5.       Slippery Slope: Soldiers may not Fast Move due to the terrain and weather effect on the table. EDIT: Experience has shown that this gives a powerful if not unwarranted advantage to the warriors. If desired you may allow only dismounted warriors a fast move (too slippery for ponies) or no fast moves at all.

6.       Captain Fetterman: The Fetterman figure represents only the man himself rather than the 8 or so men represented by all of the other figures in the game. As such the Captain has absolutely no combat value at all. His Rep of 5 is used only for leading his infantry. When the last infantry figure is removed, Captain Fetterman is removed form play as well.

7.       Quick Reference Sheets: Soldiers use the Range QRS. Warriors use the Plains Warrior QRS.

8.       Draw!: Personally I wouldn’t use that rule in this game. However if you want to use it to see who gets off the first shot when figures approach one another, have fun!

9.       Rep, Sand, Toughness, Horsemanship, etc: Use Rep value for all of these stats. Plains warriors should easily count Rep +1 for Horsemanship.
That's it! Have a go and be sure to let me know how it turns out.

Bettan Ah Bey

A simple conversion. 
 I'm just putting the finishing touches on Bettan Ah Bey, the Halfling Mamluk ruler.  He holds the jewel encrusted staff of office crowned with the skull cap of Bobtal Naiq, whom he defeated in order to assume power. He rides a white saluki hound as befits one of his stature. 
 Bettan Ah Bey will both lead the Mamluks against the Ferach Elves of Mordred, servant of Nap-O-Leon, and also against the Ottermen and Albion Orcs that replace the Ferach.
Sadly Alternative Armies only has one pose of mounted Halfling currently and I needed to make this one stand out a bit; a leader of Halflings and Otters.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hexington and Cromford: Dispatch From New Albion

Dearest Notables,

It is with great joy that I write to you of a signal victory over the Rebels in Kyng Gorge’s colony of New Albion.

Approach to Hexington
The flank companies of the 4th were dispatched under the able command of Major Petcairn to round up Rebel supplies known to be in the environs of Hexington and Cromford Mound. 

Upon reaching Hexington Major Petcairn discovered Rebels assembled in Arms lined across the common. One of the Rebels fired and the Major quite correctly returned fire, dispersing the Rebels with a charge. Soon other detachments of Rebels were discovered sniping from cover along the route of March. In each case the demmed Rebels were dispersed.

Major Petcairn apprehended Rebel agitator Amuel Sadams hiding in a cupboard in a Tavern b’ Sentinel. According to the Major, Sadams was well out of his head and only capable of gibbering and raving of “Thyngs Orcs were not meant to Know” and “the Old Gods of this Verdant Lande”.
Rebels in Force

Rebels Dispersed
Upon reaching the, uh, “Tavern” known as Myrmidon’s House a large force of Rebels was spied approaching from the North. This force was great in number. The Major deployed the Light Company in Myrmidon’s House and fields, while the Grenadiers formed line just to the West. The now usual volley and charge with cold Steele set the Rebels running. During the fighting Myrmidon’s House was set afire. This was purely an accident of War and not the deliberate burning and pillaging of “Goode Honeft Fettlers” one may read of in certain Rebel Pamphlets.

Cromford Mound
From here the Major proceeded to Cromford Mound, and here the tale takes on the dimensions of Heresy. The Mound is a structure of great Age, and none could be in its environs without a feeling of dread so I am told. The stone work and carvings are like nothing we have encountered before and in truth to gaze upon them too long is said to court a certain Dizziness and Light Headedness not at all like that engendered by a good helping of Porte! 

Having expected to find stores of Arms and Provender the Major was appalled to find instead a veritable charnel house. Not an inch there was not covered in blood and the stench is said to have been worse than that of the lowest Rookery of Londonium! 

The Mound is cited on the land of one Squire Whately, and no amount of enquiring amongst the locals was able to produce knowledge of his whereabouts.

While the Major was engaged in this phase of the expedition, I taking the remains of the regiment and a company gun followed the Major’s trail. Leaving three companies in Hexington, I marched the rest and the gun to the sound of fighting to the West.  After some, dare I say tense, moments our forces met and I took charge of the prisoner and the casualties. The Goode Major was well shaken to say the least. Yet I left this detail out of my report to ‘Orseguards, lest it reflect badly on him.
The Major lost 18 from the Light company and 12 from the Grenadiers in this action, an action that confers upon him and the Orcs under his command, great credit.

Col. Ivor Smithy
New Albion Field Force (Commanding)