Friday 16 April 2021

Uncle Vanya's House - The Kirschkreig Campaign

For the second game in my narrative campaign, after some thought I came up with the following:
After taking a bit of a beating in his raid on Chekov's orchard, Major Molotov ordered his few remaining troops to fall back as best they could to Uncle Vanya's house, which had been a safe haven during prvious raids. Once again Rittmeister Radetsky had found the location of the rendezvous and planned a surprise attack before Major Molotov and his Moravian's could reach it.
As per Scenario D: Bullets & Beans from the Rebels & Patriots rulebook, but with terrain generated from the Dawns & Departures pdf.
Ruthenian OOB
5 x Line Infantry
2 x Jaegers
Moravian OOB
4 x Camp Guards (Small Line Infantry stats, but cannot use Line Infantry special rules)
1 x Line Infantry
2 x Jaegers
The Game
I'll allow the annotated photos to give an idea of how the game unfolded etc.
An overview of the table, with Uncle Vanya's house surrounded by walled orchards and gardens as well as two orchards.

Rittmeister Radetsky has arrived with his troops, but as yet can only gain some glimpses of the camp guards.

More camp guards and Major Molotov can be seen ready to arrive at the top edge of the board.

Rittmeister Radetsky ordered his troops forward, which they did, all except his own command. The Jaegers on the left received a double activiation, allowing them to engage the camp guards in the orchard. Shots were exchanged, but the camp guards passed their morale test, despite taking 30% casualties. Hearing the sound of gunfire, Major Molotov rushed his troops towards the action, whilst the camp guards reacted as best they could, with one Ruthenian Line Infantry unit becoming disordered after taking hits from the reduced unit in the orchard.

The action opens by the orchard, with both sides taking hits, of which the Moravian camp guards can ill afford.

Rittmeister Radetsky closed in with his troops as the Ruthenians concentrated their forces against the visible camp guards, hoping to overwhelm them before Major Molotov could arrive. The orchard on the left was cleared of the enemy who routed back, whilst the camp guards in the walled orchard on the right stubbornly held on, despite taking casualties and being disordered too. As Molotov moved forward, the camp guards defending the walled orchard decided to sally forth (a double one rolled) and attack the Ruthenians, but by some miracle they survived this Lemming like manouevre and retreated back they way they had come!

The orchard is cleared of the enemy, who have routed back into the walled garden.

The Ruthenians close in on the walled orchard as other camp guards arrive to try to stave of an attack into the orchard itself.

Major Molotov is gaining ground, but too slow at present to assist in the defence.

The Ruthenian Jaegers were ordered to protect the flanks as more attacks went into the walled orchard, but the camp guards still held on, despite Rittmeister Radetsky leading his troops in an assault, who were repulsed but with no loss. Major Molotov arrived on the edge of Uncle Vanya's house, only to see a unit of camp guards rout off the table after a failed morale test. The camp guards in the walled orchard forced the Ruthenian Jaegers on the right flank back and in disorder after some accurate shooting.

The Ruthenian's move into the orchard to search it as the Jaegers of both sides face each other on the flanks.

The walled orchard is proving a tough nut to crack.

Things take a turn for the better for the Ruthenians, as the walled orchard is finally cleared of the enemy, with one unit destroyed and another retreating back disordered. Combined fire on the left sees the Moravian Jaegers disordered. Rittmeister Radetsky spies Major Molotov and his unit along the road and open fire, causing hits on the unit but Major Molotov avoids any musket balls for the moment. Unfortunately for the Moravians, they all fail to activate, which is not an ideal outcome at this point in during the battle!

The Ruthenians dominate their left flank.

The right flank is theirs too.

Rittmeister Radetsky's redemption continues as his troops destroy the Moravian Jaegers facing them on the left flank and another unit of camp guards routs off the table after a failed morale test. Major Molotov's unit takes more hits and is now down to 2/3 strength. With nothing left with which to offer any meaningful resistance, he quickly quits the field of battle, leaving Rittmeister Radtesky to have a 'chat' with Uncle Vanya...

The Ruthenians in complete control of Uncle Vanya's farm.

The few remaining Moravian troops can offer nothing with which to stop the Ruthenians.

End of Game
With Major Molotov's troops close to 75% casualties, it was time to call the end of the game, as it was only a matter of time before they broke.
Post Game Thoughts
Well to be perfectly honest it was rather a one sided battle in which the Moravians' were never really in with a chance. Some thoughts on the game anyway:
  • The rules worked well but again I forgot the first fire rule, but fortunately it didn't prove to be a significant ommission on my part. Despite this they gave an easy game and one in which I mainly used the QRS, only referring to the book for the Morale tests.
  • I'm not sure if I read the scenario right or not, but the Defenders have little chance of winning as I see it, even when in a good defensive position such as this. The Attackers start closer and with a numerically superior force. I think they need a few more points to make a game of it.
  • Using the Dawn & Departures terrain generation worked well and takes that decision making away from you, giving you some unexpected choices which is nice.
  • In terms of the campaign, Radetsky has now gained the 'Enfants perdues' trait as well as +1 to his tactical value. Molotov is still far behind and only on 12 point of Honour. In reality he should still be on 10 but I felt sorry for him and gave him two point this game to show he may have salvaged some stores before he legged it off the table. Having played lots of Mordheim before, I'm wary of Radetsky getting so far ahead that it will become too one-sided a campaign, but will have to wait and see what happens in the next game.
  • I need to have a good think about the next scenario that not only ties in with the campaign narrative, but also gives the Moravians a fighting chance going forward.
I'm in no hurry to play the next game in the campaign, so will wait until the weather or the mood takes me. Currently we are finally getting some lovely weather, albeit a bit cool, so I'm spending as much time outside doing my other hobbies. I might fit in another game of Honours of War or even some BKCII, but I'm not sure yet. Again I'll wait until I feel in the mood. So until next time stay safe!

Sunday 11 April 2021

Spring 2021 Update On Wargaming & Other Hobbies

Like most of us I'm sure, it's been a very long Winter under lockdown and now that Spring is (allegedly) here and we can begin to emerge from our homes and resume some semblance of normal life, it's time to take stock of the past few months. It's been a mixed bag for sure on the wargaming front, for a variety of reasons as you will see, mainly due to other hobbies and interests that I have. So without further ado and in no particular order:

Since retiring I've been able to spend a lot more time out in the garden which is something I absolutely love. After a career in the design industry for over 30 plus years, being able to work outside in the fresh air and at Nature's pace is such a refreshing change. No silly deadlines or awkward clients to deal with, just slugs and the vagaries of the English climate. Having plenty of daylight after workshops with little natural daylight is fantastic and so good for the soul! 
However this love does impact on my wargaming as this time of year is somewhat hectic with getting seeds planted, beds ready for sowing etc, that there seems to be little time left for anything else. Of course this is all weather dependant and this year the Spring has been more cold than for many a year, which has caused a few problems, but that's part and parcle of gardening in the UK.

The back garden looking a bit sad due to cold winds from the Arctic, which is unusual for this time of year in Bristol. However potoatoes are in pots as well as peas, so things are progressing, albeit rather more slowly than I would like.

A mix of tomatoes, lettuce and flowers waiting for it to warm up transfer them to pots and to harden off outside.
Another of my hobbies that I love, but time is often hard to find given I'm also now a full time carer for our son, who has Autism and Learning Difficulties. One of the benefits of the recent lockdown is that with my wife at home, I've been able to pop out into my small workshop (a rather grand title for some space in the garage) and have a play. I'm lucky to have this space for a start as well as a collection of wood I've accumulated over the years with which to make things. Having had a rather nice workshop in Nigeria when I was a VSO and then when working prototyping, I've had to adjust to an almost complete lack of machine tools, which took a bit of getting used to. However the lack of noise and dust and making most things by hand has been rather refreshing. 

To kick things off I knocked up a simple box to see what I could or couldn't do at home with the tools at my disposal. Most things are achievable but just take longer to do. I learnt a lot from this which I can take forward to other projects, of which I have plenty planned. Now all I have to do is find or make the time!

Made from pine taken from a Victorian coach house where my old company used to be based, before they moved premises.

Half the fun is choosing the timber to use and how best to make use of the grain and natural knots etc within each piece of timber. Nothing fancy for sure but a start.
For once I've made more time to read this Spring which is something that I really enjoy. It certainly helps when you have books that really grab you. Luckily so far I haven't encountered any 'bad' ones, which is good. My reading consists of pretty much military history these days, with the odd foray into travel literature for something different.

The 'Report of Foreign Manouevres 1912' is an eye opening read having just finished Max Hastings excellent book on the first year of WWI. You realise how completely unprepared all sides were for the type of warfare that occured, despite the lessons learned (or not) from the ACW and the Russo-Japanese War. The 'Case White' books is my current read and is a must have for anyone with an interest in the Polish Campaign. Full of fascinating detail, I'm learning an awful lot that other books on the conflict haven't covered, which is perfect from a wargaming point of view.

I've struggled to game as much as I might have wished to, but the above has frankly taken up more of my time and interest so far this year. At least I've managed 10 solo games so far, some with input from friends, so not too bad really. I've also been planning plenty of games and scenarios which I enjoy doing. Painting I've pretty much failed to do anything so far, other than some basing and priming of units. Evenings are when I usually paint but under lockdown this has become family viewing time which is far more important! Still I'm looking forward to finding some time soon to paint and hopefully easing of lockdown might force me to pull my finger out and get stuff finished before FtF hoefully resumes in the Summer!

Cycling & Walking
Both of these took a big hit as we all had to stay within our local areas for most of the first few months of the year. It's pretty hard to find new routes that are free of people and are fun to cycle or walk on with such a restricted area within which to operate. Also the weather didn't help as after cycling cum wind, rain or shine for nigh on 30 years to work and back, I fancied a break from this. I think I've become a fair weather cyclist now! Fitness took a hit but things are picking up now that we are allowed further afield. I'm still being careful but hope come next month to really begin to spread my wings, all being well on the Covid front of course.
Let's hope that the next three months are better than the first, so until then stay safe and keep healthy!