Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another Gentlemen Adventurer for the League

Brotherhood of the Toad.

Luigi Faccia di Rospo, Duke of Umbridgia is Prince Mattersnicht's latest recruit to the League of Extraordinary Mentalmen.  Formerly a staunch supporter of Modred's Amorican Empire, di Rospo has been disillusioned by what he sees as a betrayal of faith when Modred's legions crossed the border into the Todaroni domains.

Forced to flee the Ducal palazzo on the approach of the Elves, di Rospo has renounced all claim to his title and now travels Valon, the epitome of the cultured dilettante. It's a reputation he cultivates, and few realize di Rospo is the sole surviving member of the Brotherhood of the Toad and a Master of the Amorican martial arts, savate, and la canne!

Di Rospo , fighting excesses , or  drinking to excess?

Yet little escapes the notice of Prince Mattersnicht , and before long the Prince set his most trusted agent, the Duke of Yippstatte, ambassador-at-large to Urop, on di Rospo's scent. The two finally met at and Inn on the outskirts of the Beervarian capital, and soon formed a fast friendship.

Di Rospo and Yippsttte

Some say that di Rospo now serves as Yippstatte's adviser. Others say the two are simply drinking their way across all of Valon. All we know is, they are The League of Extraordinary Mentalmen!

Brotherhood of the Toad and Le Beau Sabre Gauche.
Yippstatte and di Rospo are the gentile face of the league, less aristocratic members such as The Yellow Banana, Plunkorc and MacMean pose as their servants and staff. With the duo's charm, and Yippstatte's credentials, the League has access to virtually all of Urop and throughout their travels, these masters of disguise have been able to work undetected.

Wherever the Ostarian Empire needs to act covertly, rest assured the League will appear, complete its task, and disappear just as quickly as it arrived.

Hope you liked the photos and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Yellow Banana

They Seek Him Here,
They Seek Him There,
And When They Do, Oh Hannah!
They'll Hear a "Hoot!",
And He'll Steal Their Fruit,
For He Is
 The Yellow Banana!

Down at The Notables Club, last week, after I had regaled one and all with tales of the Prince of Orangs, dear old Uncle Rogipoos, lit a cheroot, sipped his hot cocoa, and set out a most singular set of occurrences that have attended travelers in the Shirewood near Willorcs Hall. It seems this dashing Highwayape waylays coaches, not in search of gold and gems. Rather he relieves travelers of their fruit and veg!  

Well I dare say such a figure deserves...a figure...if you can figure it out yourselves.
Questing about the drawers and cubbyholes of the game room I came on a fine Orc Engineer, who did for a start.

As you may see from the photo above, I replaced his right hand with the hand of a dismounted Orc Heavy Dragoon, toting a pistol. For his left hand I simply snipped off the shovel, drilled the hand through, and inserted a spare Alternative Armies  sword I had about.  His face, hair, and mask were built up from greenstuff. This is indeed only the fourth time I have used it. 

The first was to convert a Samwise Gamgee figure that was holding a sword to one that is holding a fry pan. The second and third times were the Princes of Orang, and here you see the fourth.

The  Yellow Banana has been recruited by Le Beau Sabre Gauche to join his band of Valonian Gentlemen Adventurers, The League of Extraordinary Mentalmen.

I've quite a few adventures planned for the League, although it seems to be one of those things that is always getting pushed to the end of the queue.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and tale, and thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prince of Orangs: Take Two!

"Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! 
I've not grown accustomed to his face...  "

I just couldn't let well enough lie. As you may know an adult Orangutan has very dark grey skin and my chaps were just too light. So I once again took up the brush.

Of course when painting miniatures the trick with any dark color is to not make it so dark that the figure loses definition.

Also the historical Prince of Orange did not sport a mustache and my original Prince of Orangs was so painted...but an orangutan without his mustache just looks...odd.

So this time around I used Vallejo black mixed with Army Painter Ash Grey to varying degrees to darken the Prince's skin, with  Vallejo Brown Orange (or it might be Orange Brown!) mixed with varying degrees of Vallejo White to fix the facial hair situation.

Better? I'm not sure. However I am done monkeying around on these figures for now.

Yes. I went there!

Thanks for stopping by...again : )

The Prince of Orangs, 1815

The photos fairly well speak for themselves here. The valiant Prince of Orangs, during the 'Undred Days" campaign. His newly recovered Burrovian subjects were less than sure of their reprised role  as subjects of the House of Orangs, yet still performed admirably on the field.

Both versions of the Prince, mounted and foot, started life as Alternative Armies Albion Orc Officers. Green stuff was applied to their faces to better (sadly not well artfully) convey the features of an Orangutan.

The Prince of Orange's uniform was then studied and replicated-ish to complete the job. Not too happy with the painting of their faces and might go back and do some additional shading. Still they resemble what they are meant to be and sometimes that is enough.

Now if only I can persuade Sharke not to take pot shots at him!

More photos below:

If you have read down this far you will know by now....

Hope you enjoyed the photos and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Retreat from Moscow, Game One

Played the first game in a test of the campaign system for the Napoleonic rules I am currently working on, tentatively titled "Muskets and Shakos". As you may guess from the name it is based on the same system as our "Muskets and Mohawks", and "Rifles and Rebels". This time however the scale has been bumped up so that each unit is a battalion, squadron, or battery.

As with every Two Hour Wargame, this one includes a campaign system and rules for solitaire, or co-op play as well as the traditional two opposing sides of players sort of game. In this case you are tasked with commanding a brigade (+) on the Grande Armee during the retreat from Moscow in 1812.

Conveniently for the game's scale (1"=20 yards), your brigade has been detached on a foragin mission and has been cut off from the main line of retreat. Your mission is to get your command back to the relative safety of the main body. I've deliberately set this up to allow players to field forces of any of Napoleon's allies in the invasion, and alternately as the British army on Sir John Moore's retreat to Corunna. However for this test campaign I am playing as the French and the game system will handle the valiant Russians.

My brigade consists of two infantry regiments, each of three battalions. All told these units come to three Rep 5, two Rep 4, and one Rep 3. I also have two squadrons of light cavalry, Reps 5 and 3, and a battery of 4 guns. In the photo above you can see my command deployed on the right. From left to right we have the first regiment, all in column of divisions (hereafter simply "column"), the battery, and the second infantry regiment. The second regiment has its left unit in column, center unit in line, and right unit in square, the reason for which will soon become apparent. My two cavalry squadrons are being held in reserve behind the second regiment of foot.

The Russians fielded two infantry regiments, each of two battalions, two batteries of 6 and four guns (or one battery of 10 guns split in two if you like), and  a regiment of five sotnias of Cossacks.

 Each Russian infantry regiment had one battalion in line supported its second battalion in column. The Russian guns were deployed between the two infantry regiments, and the Cossacks on their left. The terrain being level, it was possible the Cossacks were masking more units deployed behind them, and so a Possible Enemy Force marker was placed behind the regiment.

Given the Russian set up, I opted to press forward one infantry regiment against the enemy right, demonstrate against his center with my second infantry regiment, and hope that my two squadrons of cavalry could keep the Cossacks occupied long enough for my infantry to carry the day.

Here is how it all went:
Turn 1: as my troops moved to execute the plan, Russian artillery fire immediately started causing confusion in my ranks.
Turn 2: My forces continue to advance. On my left the Russian battalion turns to face, while on my right the Cossacks advance, unmasking a second Cossack regiment behind the first, Fortunately the second regiment wasn't masking even more troops. My infantry in the center was being pretty badly handled by the Russian guns.

Turn 3: On my left, the outer most battalion continued moving on the Russian flank. The second battalion formed line in preparation for engaging the enemy. The third battalion remained in column as a reserve. On my right, both regiments of Cossacks fell back before the mighty charge of my squadron of light horse : )

Turn 4: The withdrawal of the Cossacks, however temporary, gave me the chance to launch an assault with my center regiment, while the first regiment continued its flanking movement. On the far left, the Russains reacted to my wide flanking move by sending their right flank reserve battalion towards my flanking column.  We charged with elan, but the charge faltered and devolved into a firefight between the two columns.

Continuing from left to right, the Russian battalion in line refused a flank to confront my reserve battalion, while the battalion I  had deployed in line advanced. The Russians got off the first shot but very much got the wrong end of the exchange.

Next the left most battalion of second regiment advancing in column stalled before the six gun Russian battery and was ripped apart by canister.  The center regiment of the second battalion fared better, although they to failed to close with the determined gunners of the four gun battery.

Turn 5 and Turn 6: Turn five came and went without any movement but with both sides blazing away at one another in fire fights that now stretched all along the infantry and gun lines.

Turn six started with a renewed attack by the Cossacks on my cavalry. The two unit of horse danced about but failed to close. 

On my extreme right the two battalions in column remained locked in a fairly desultory fire fight, while my battalion in line finally forced the Russians opposite to retire. 
My battalion in front of the six gun battery could make no headway and their losses steadily mounted. The fight against the four gun battery went better with two gun crews down and the other two abandoning their pieces.

On the retreat of the gunners the final Russian reserve battalion charged my battalion in line but failed to close. The Russian battalion they were supporting wheeled and gave us a volley as well but my brave enfants held!

With all of the Russian reserves committed I could feel the battle turning my way.

Turn 7: Decision!  The Russians got this turn off to a lively start by routing the battalion that had stalled in front of the six gun battery. It was to be their last success.
On my right one cavalry squadron routed the lead regiment of Cossacks while the second squadron made a charge on the Russain battalion that was pouring a flanking fire into my lead regiment of 2nd battalion. The Russains formed square and the horsemen balked, but my goal of limiting the fire my infantry faced had been attained.
The infantry, no free from the threat to their flank, charged the Russia column with which they had been exchanging shots. The Russians retired before them.
The right most battalion of first regiment charged the six gun battery from the flank, routing them. The third battalion, thus far held in reserve, charged the Russain infantry that had retired the previous turn and routed them.
Finally the first battalion of the first regiment charged the left most Russian column and forced it to retire.
End Game: At this point the Russian had lost one infantry battalion, two gun batteries, and a regiment of Cossacks. Their commander lost his nerve and  broke off the engagement.

My losses were as follows:
1/1 no loss
2/1 5 out of 10
3/1 no loss

1/2 1 out of 10
2/2 2 out of 8
3/2 Fled (8 figures at start)

The horse and guns suffered no loss.

Have yet to decide on the method of after battle recovery so cannot say how many will return for the next game yet.

All in all a fun game that contrasted nicely with the Chasseur vs. Cossak game last week. This time the Cossacks could not find a flank and although they suffered no loss they soon tired of the game and departed the field.

The AI can stand a tweak or two as well but other than that all seems to be working as expected.

Not sure how soon game two of the campaign will come about but you may be sure it will be posted here when it does.

Hope you enjoyed the report and, as always, thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cossacks at Romanov, July 1812

Got back to the Napolenic project recently and wanted to try some new mechanics for handling irregular horse. With that in mind this scenario was rather loosely based on the skirmish outside Romanov on July 14th, 1812.

On that day the Polish 1st Chasseurs ran into three regiments of Cossacks and lost some 275 men out  of 700 or so engaged. Some of the details are sketchy depending on who is telling the story. There were either three or four squadrons of the Chasseurs who may have had 700 to 900 sabers. The Cossacks were supported by another regiment of Cossacks, as well as one of Uhlans, one of Dragoons and a battalion of  light infantry. However it does seem that none of these forces took part in the actual fighting and remained on the east side of Romanov while all the fighting took place west of the village.

Initial Deployment, Poles to the west (left), Russians to the east (right)

For game purposes a regiment of 21 French Hussars stood in for the Poles of whom I have none. The  regiment was divided into four squadrons of 5 with a single regimental command figure. This, given a scale of 1 figure equals 40 men and horses, made for a nearly full strength regiment. Given the campaign had only just begun this seemed reasonable enough.  

The 1st Polish-French Chasseur-Hussars advance!

Historically the Chasseurs advanced with the 2nd squadron out as skirimsihers, and the other squadrons echeloned  left and right behind the 1st.

I managed to just scrape together 31 Cossack figures by requisitioning some figures from the regular regiments. This enabled the fielding of 3 regiments, each of 5 sotnias of two figures each. One additional figures served as the brigade commander. At the same figure scale this gave sotnias of 80 figures each, and regiments of 400 each, a bit less closer to full strength than their enemies. As I suspect Cossacks would have had difficulty finding replacements when on campaign, and might have had considerable variation from regiment to regiment, that's close enough for play test purposes.

Two regiments of  Cossacks ready to lava.
In the historical battle two regiments, probably Illovaiski, and Karpov, lured the Poles into a frontal assault while the third regiment (Koutienkov ?) hit them in the flank as they advanced. 

This left me with two regiments on the table and the third entering by die roll on the south western corner of the table, diced for at the start of each turn after the first. 

End of turn one.
The first turn saw both sides advancing to contact. Unfortunately for the Poles the third Cossack regiment entered on turn two.

Flanking force arrives

Start of turn two.
This presented the Poles with a dilemma. 
Second squadron continued to advance on the enemy, skirmishing. Third squadron advanced to the skirmishers' left with the intention of charging the enemy on that flank. Fourth squadron wheeled right and advanced on the new arrivals. First squadron remained in reserve in the center.

The Poles respond to the emerging threat from the south.
The Cossack right fell back before the advance of third squadron, while second squadron was forced to withdraw behind first.

Drawn on by the Cossacks, the Polish left outdistances the regiment.

Close up of the action on the Polish left.
Emboldened by the defeat of second squadron, the Cossacks advanced on the first. Meanwhile the third Cossack regiment advanced from the south.

Battle joined left, right, and center.
Third squadron's charge petered out and the squadron was surrounded by Cossacks and taking losses.

Swirling melee on the Polish left
Third and first squadrons continued their advance.  The Cossacks to their front fell back before them, leaving the odd sotnia behind and on the flanks of the Poles. The charge of fourth squadron had the same...success ( ? )

The Cossacks are pushed back all along the line, but some sotnias remain behind.
I failed to reform second squadron due to some poor dice rolling. This was getting ugly.

Another view of the  fluid situation.

 Third squadron was being whittled down, a death of a thousand cuts. Eventually it broke and ran. Unfortunately for them, Cossacks were operating freely along their escape route.

Third squadron flees.
There is no safety in flight...
On the right, the Cossacks surprisingly withstood fourth squadron's charge. Detached sotnias converged on their flank and rear. Losses mounted and fourth squadron also broke and fled.

The death of fourth squadron.
With two squadron's broken, the battered first squadron withdrew on second and together they retired leaving the field to the Cossacks.

End game.
So far so good  as far as testing the "swarm" rules went. All of the troops were given a Rep of 4 just to make things easier for me to keep track of. Still formed cavalry has, as you might imagine, a great advantage over skirmishers in melee. Oddly enough though, the only times the Poles were ever actually able to run down the Cossacks, the dice failed me, and the Cossacks held on until help reached them.

Early days yet for Muskets and Shakos (or Muskets and Muscovites as I like to call it). If all goes well these "swarm" rules will also serve for a set of plains wars rules in the future as well.

Still somethings to iron out and then of course comes the actual writing process...

Hope you enjoyed the battle report and thanks for stopping by!