Saturday 28 January 2023

A Gamer Who Paints Or A Painter Who Games?

So are you a gamer who paints, or a painter who games? Maybe you're both? Frankly does it matter? Of course not! But over the past few weeks this question has been bouncing around in my head for some reason or other, so I thought I'd address this by looking back on my wargaming development. Currently I'd call myself the former, but this hasn't always been the case as you will see.

Well it all started off with Airfix and Matchbox figures and model kits way back in the early 1970's, both HO/OO and 1/32nd scale. Choice was limited, certainly on the kits front, but we made do with what was available and were pretty happy to have enough stuff to play for what we thought was a wargame. Rules were from the Airfix Magazine Guide WWII Wargaming by Bruce Quarrie. I honestly can't remember much about them but we had fun. We didn't paint the figures due to the adhesion issues which we all know about and I think the tanks got some details painted but were left mainly as moulded. So I think it fair to class this period as a gamer who paints.

Then we discovered Thane Tostig, D&D, Chainmail etc and WWII wargaming sort of disappeared into the background. Only a few figures were required and for the time, the animation and detail seemed superb. Being metal meant that the paint actually stuck to the figures, so more time was spent getting them looking nice as hopefully they would get to see plenty of action. Many an evening was spent in the bedroom painting with Humbrol paints and the room stinking of thinners. No wonder I used to get the odd headache! Sadly the games didn't take off but I would see myself at this point as being a painter who gamed, somewhat infrequently it must be said.

Then there was a big gap where I went to Uni (or polytechnic as it was in those days) and then the World of work. Fast forward some 20 odd years and Mordheim appeared on the scene and it really grabbed my attention. The figures were superb and a starter box with the rules, figures and some scenery all included made it simple to re-enter the wargaming World. Playing at a club in those ancient pre-internet days meant that my spare time was used to paint up my warband, doing conversions etc all ready for a club campaign or a one off game the next week. Easy to maintain focus without outside distractions and only one warband to paint. One could argue that at this point I was both a gamer and painter in equal measure, with neither being to the fore too much, but given the amount of time and effort I put into converting and painting the warband, I think a painter who gamed would be a fair summation.

Flames of War appeared on the scene at the club and Mordheim took a back seat, sadly never to re-appear, but I was gaming WWII once again and actually able to paint figures where it didn't chip off at the slightest touch and the range and choice of forces was something that could only have been dreamed of as a teenager. But there's the rub. It was too easy to buy another army due to club discounts with Peter Pig and other retailers, even before the first force was half-way finished. 28mm skirmish arrived too in the form of Rules of Engagement and not long after my switch to 10mm. So suddenly in the space of a few years I had gone from a single Mordheim warband to a multiplicity of scales, forces etc that I simply did not have the time to focus on, whether it being to paint them of to even begin to base them etc. At this stage I think it fair to say I was neither really a gamer nor a painter, as I was struggling to find the time or inclination to do either, given we were raising a young family, my work was very busy given my management role etc.

This carried on in a similar vein for a few years and was then exacerpated but moving to gaming at home with friends on an ad-hoc basis, plus stress at work leading to retail therapy buying of 10mm armies to add to my already quite substantial lead mountain! Both gaming and painting took a hit, with the gaming becoming increasingly infrequent, but at least I was painting more in fits and starts. Certainly a painter who games seems a fair assessment.

Things moved on like this until I became a full-time carer just before Covid and lockdown hit. Like many gamers I took time to take stock of my wonderful hobby and realised that in all honesty my lead mountain was too big and would never be finished. It was the elephant in the attic that I didn't want to talk about, but when I did, it was all rather cathartic. After years of little gaming compared to painting, I realised I want to actually spend more time gaming! This was aided by the fact that despite being retired, it was very hard to find the time to paint without a dedicated painting area, when most of my time was taken up with caring duties or being a house-husband.

Some three years on since Covid arrived, I can safely say that I'm currently a gamer who paints and am very happy with this situation. I find great pleasure in researching and planning a scenario, tweaking it etc and then actually getting it onto the table to play, which to my mind is the reason we paint our figures. Of late campaigns have come more to the fore of my gaming and looking at various posts this month, this seems to be the case for other gamers too.

When the muse is upon me or I have a deadline to hit for a FtF game or show, then I still love to get the paints out. This is certainly the case with my planned France 1940 Campaign, where last night I based a load of figures that, weather permitting I can prime in a few days. Then I am looking forward to painting them so that they can see action on the table. So for me painting is a means to an end rather than the end itself.

I'd love to know your thoughts and where you sit in relation to this question. I can imagine where some other Bloggers sit based upon their posts, but many I have no idea, so look forward to hearing from you if you have the time and inclination to reply.

In other news the France 1940 Campaign is coming along nicely, but I do need to get some new figures painted before the first scenario can kick off. At least the broad outline is sorted and now I need to flesh some ideas out, but this will happen alongside the painting, all being well.


Sunday 22 January 2023

France 1940 Campaign - Initial Thoughts

At some point over the Xmas and New Year hols my mind turned to trying to run a BKCII campaign based upon the Invasion of France 1940. I had been thinking of Operation Barbarossa, but given that I had pretty much all the British painted and ready to go, it would be easier to go down the French route, as I would only have to paint up the Germans. This is still quite a task mind you but with a campaign in the offing, this would hopefully focus my mind.

Lately whilst dealing with back and cold issues, I have been doing some background reading. Now most books focus on the breakthrough at Sedan and its aftermath, as one could argue that it is the defining action of the campaign. However little is given over to the Belgian, Dutch and British actions in comparison. I did manage to find a book that covered the latter in some detail (see below) but would still like to read up on the Belgian and Dutch at some point, so if anyone knows of some good books, please let me know!

An old book but still a favourite of mine, that gives a good basic overview of the campaign, but also the build up that led to it. Filled with lovely illustrations and some nice snippets of info, it is worth getting IMHO.

A superb book that puts the whole campaign into perspective from the German side and explodes many myths. Sadly it covers little of the actions in Holland and Belgium, but is just what you need for Sedan and the breakouts after that. The only downside is that the publisher did not translate the maps which are in German. A minor quibble though.

This really is an excellent book which gives a great overview of the campaign and especially all the C&C issues that dogged the Allies. Highly readable and with a good focus on the British actions, which is naturally useful for my plans.

A rather battered book, but still good and a very readable account of the British actions during the campaign, with info that is hard to find elsewhere. The detail can be a bit overwhelming once the troops start their retreat towards Dunkirk, but full of the sort of info I want and need for my campaign planning.

With enough reading having been done over the past few weeks, really the question is how best to approach and run this campaign, whilst keeping it playable, enjoyable and within the constraints of using BKCII as the ruleset? So in no particular order, I've far come up with the following main points to be considered.

The overiding issue is actually how best simulate the campaign over a given number of games? One simple route would be to use a board game to generate the actions that might be suitable to transfer to the table top. This is something that Norm Smith has done successfully with other periods and if I had a dedicated games room, would certainly be worth considering. However I don't so as much as I might like to give this a try, it will have to wait for another time maybe. I could use the Warplan 5.5 maps as I did last year with my Operation Market Garden campaign, which worked very well, but did require a lot of paperwork on my behalf. Whislt this is no bad thing, given the nature of the campaign once the inital breakthroughs has happened, my thoughts are that this would not work as well. I have not discounted it just yet though.

My current thinking is to use the standard scenarios in the BKCII rulebook as a good starting point for the actions, alongside narrative driven outcomes based upon what happened historically. So for example the first action might be an Encounter type game based upon the British armoured screen in front of the Dyle Line bumping into the advanced elements of the German forces. After that a Hasty of Deliberate Attack on the Dyle Line itself, with a Breakthrough action thereafter and so on. This is certainly much easier to run and to generate a feel for the campaign based upon the very confused nature of the fighting. So I will do some more work on this to see if it still fits the bill for what I'm after.

Whilst the British started at the Gort Line during the 'Phoney War', when advancing there were calls to halt at the Escaut once the breakthroughs at Sedan had come to light, rather than pushing on to the Dyle as planned. It would certainly be interesting to see what might have happened if the British has stayed put in their relatively strong positions, but this doesn't take into account the fact that the Belgians and Dutch could have been defeated piecemeal first. Also the French were fighting the last War and so were expecting a drawn out campaign and din't want to fight on their border, where they industrial areas and Paris would be in range of German artillery and aircraft. Although an interesting 'what if?' that might be better played on a boardgame, for the moment I am going down the historical route and starting along the Dyle.

As much as I like to field air support during my games, for the British sadly this is rather limited and certainly on available for the very early stages of the battle. Whilst my Fairy Battle and Bristol Blenheim sit in front of me waiting to be painted, they will only get a cursory part in the action, unless some spectacular successes keep them in the campaign. Likewise for the Germans their Stukas will be absent early on but play an increasingly great role as the campaign unfolds and if and when they breakthrough the Dyle Line. I may take some artistic license with both sides depending upon how things unfolds, which is the advantage of a narrative campaign played solo!

Brtish tanks and 'Penny Packets'. I hadn't realised how late on in the campaign that the British armour arrived and in pretty limited numbers. Broadly speaking therefore the Light Tanks will be in action first, followed by some Infantry tanks and then finally the Cruisers. Not many will make it to the table due to logistic issues alongside mechanical ones. In BKCIV they have a neat rule where if any Unreliable tank moves move than a half move, it has to test to see if it breaks down or not. This is a simple way to replicate the issues faced when using British tanks. 

In contrast the Germans will have plenty of armour later on, but initially it will be limited to Armoured Cars and a few Light Tanks. Once the breakthroughs have taken place, then the heavier German tanks will be able to make an appearance, but not in too great a number, given that most of the Armoured Divisions were to the South and around the Sedan breakout and drive to the coast.

I hadn't realised that the British mixed up their Brigades in terms of quality, with some having 2 Regular and 1 Territorial Battalion, or the reverse. This caused issues with C&C as well as having poorly equipped and trained troops in the frontline and the inherent problems that that caused. With BKCII this is easily covered by the C&C built into the game and the quality ratings of the troops that can be fielded.

Against this of course you have generally speaking extremely well trained and commanded German troops, although at times they had their off days. As with the above, this is easy to sort out in BKCII.

One of the hardest things to replicate is the fact that whilst the British tended to hold their position along the Dyle, their flanks were constantly being turned as the French and Belgian troops withdrew, often without warning. Later on things stabilised but for the initial engagements it was a tricky business. But I need to bear in mind that the Germans tried frontal assaults to start with the more often that not failed, with them then learning to attack junctions between forces and to exploit the opportunities thus created.

Added to the above was the fact that the British had to defend far too a broad frontage, often twice as long or more than recommended for a Battalion or Brigade. So when along the Dyle Line, they should be quite far apart and with little defensive positions such as pill boxes or barbed wire from which to fight. Added to this was the complete confusion of C&C almost from the off, with some units having no radios at all!

Whilst the Fallschirmjager were used in Holland, they weren't against the British, but I must admit I am tempted to include them at some point, either for a small airborne drop or as general ground troop support. Stretching things too far? Possibly but again this is the advantage of a narrative approach.

We all know of the pityful plight of the refugees during the campaign, but I hadn't quite appreciated how much of a problem they caused to the British trying to move back from the Dyle as well as to units moving up in support. Again BKCIV has some optional rules for these so will check them out. 5th Columnists were an issue too, not massively so and I think using the Sniper rule is the easiest way to cover this, but only when in or near BUA's.

I hadn't realised that the British troops arrived in ports as far away as Cherbourg and Nantes, with their supply dumps far back from the Belgium frontier. This caused major logistical problems when trying to bring up Corps level assets and below. So quite often the British artillery had limited stocks of ammo or that the 2pdr ATG was released for use until quite late on, when it was too late for them to make any real difference. In BKCII the Dispersed Artillery covers this quite well and limits could be placed on how often an artillery unit might be able to fire. For Divisional and Corps level assets, then this is easy to do by having them appear and certain parts of the campaign.

To my mind the trickiest thing to do is to replicate the very confused nature of both the fighting and the overall view from the Allied side as to how the campaign was actually unfolding. Along side this one needs to take into account the German fear, often overidden or simply ignored, of their open left flank etc. My thought it to use suitable Random/Chance cards that fit in with each game as the campaign unfolds. I think it is simple to implement yet captures the nature of events at anyone time. Some thoughts need to go into these of course to get it right and not too intrusive so as to alter the game too much.

Well that's enough to be getting on with for now. My priority first and foremost is to paint some German troops and a few extra AFV's before I can kick things off. Terrain wise I'm OK but if the weather permits then I might make a few bits'n'pieces to add to the look of the campaign. Hopefully it will warm up so that I can get some priming done!


Saturday 21 January 2023

OHW Scenario 12 - An Unfortunate Oversight

Coming down with a cold recently put pay to my planned painting, but at least I did manage to get in another OHW scenario in, which was good. As the front cover of the book states: "Practical Tabletop Battles For Those With Limited Time Or Space." Well that statement might have been written just for me at present!

For this scenario I decided to go with the 6 units a side as per the book, as I thought this would make for a better game given the table layout and the fact I would once again be playing on my 2' x 2' board. Random die rolls produced the following:

Red OOB (Defender)
4 x Infantry
1 x Artillery
1 x Cavalry

Blue OOB (Attacker)
1 x Light Infantry
3 x Infantry
2 x Cavalry

Scenario Details
  • The Hill is the objective.
  • The Blue force cannot fire in the first Turn.

The Game
As with all these scenarios, this one was pretty easy to set up as I didn't have to worry too much about terrain placement. I went with BPII & the GH! supplement tweaks as before, feeling that they would be better suited to this scenario than HoW, which I've used before. So without further ado onto the action.

An overview of the table, with Red already deployed and Blue arriving from the Southern table edge.

Red Line Infantry hold the town, with other units stationed outside, with the Artillery positioned so at to cover the approaches to the bridge.

The Blue left flank force, which will arrive and pin the troops and artillery in and by the town.

The Blue right flank force, led by the cavalry, which will cross the ford and try to quickly overwhelm the enemy.

The end of Turn 1. The Blue Cavalry and Line Infantry make short work of crossing the ford, surprising the enemy by their sudden appearance. Ditto the Left flank force that deployed by the river. The Red force quickly moved to face the threat but failed to hit anything whilst they had the upper hand on the shooting front.

The Blue left flank somehow survives a whiff of grapeshot from the otherside of the river.

The Blue Line Infantry can't quite form into line ready to shoot at the enemy.

The Red troops in the town redeploy to meet the threat from across the river.

The end of Turn 2. The Blue Cavalry failed to move, but the Line Infantry on both sides of the river managed to KO the Red Artillery and disrupt the Red Cavalry. The loss of the Red Artillery was serious so early on, but the Cavalry made a disorderly retreat to try and recover whilst the Line Infantry deployed with their left flank on the hill. The shooting was not as effective as hoped due to some very good morale saves by Blue.

The Red Artillery is promptly knocked out of the battle.

A view of the Red position, which shows that their left flank is hanging in the air, as the Cavalry is reforming and so is unable to offer support there.

The end of Turn 3. The Blue Cavalry moved past the Red Line Infantry to pressure their flank and avoided the worst effects of crossing fire. As they did this the Blue Line Infantry advanced forward and their shooting managed to cause some disruption with one unit shaken. It could have been worse but again there were some good morale saves. The Red Line Infantry moved partially out of the town to improve their shooting prospects and at least caused some more disruption on the Blue troops.

The Blue Light Infantry come under fire.

Both sides trade blows, but the Red Line Infantry failed a Rally roll, which might cost them dear.

Turn 4 sees the Blue Cavalry charge the Red Line Infantry in the flank, who somehow survive the combat (ie shocking Blue dice rolls!).

The Red Line Infantry change facing in the continuing combat as the Red Cavalry join the fray.

In the ensuing melee one Blue Cavalry unit and one Red Line Infantry unit are destroyed. 

In the aftermath the Red Cavalry pass their break test, as do the Blue Cavalry, but the latter are forced to retreat.

The end of Turn 4. After the epic Cavalry clash, both sides trade shots at each other, with neither side quite getting the upper hand. However a Red Line Infantry unit crucially pass their break test which keeps their line intact.

The end of Turn 5. The Blue Cavalry charge their opposite number who in a desperate move meet them half way, only to be destroyed in the ensuing melee. The Blue Line Infantry move onto the hill to enfilade the Red Line Infantry. Both side take hits and both have units that pass their break tests, but the Red Line Infantry are shaken and are beginning to gain the upper hand.

The thin Red line.

The Blue Cavalry are victorious, but are disrupted and shaken.

The end of Turn 6. In a last gamble, the Red Line Infantry get off a good volley, but the Blue Line Infantry pass their morale saves. With no supporting Cavalry the Red Line Infantry withdraw into the safety of the town.

The Blue left flank has done a good job in pinning the Red troops in and around the town.

The Red troops begin withdrawing into the town.

They still hold the bridge.

The Blue troops in control of the objective.

Another view of the table.

End of Game
With the loss of their Cavalry, the Red troops had little option but to withdraw, as they would be unable to effectively contest control of the hill, without exposing their flanks. Still they held the town, but could not prevent Blue forces from crossing at the ford.

Post Game Thoughts
Another fun game using an OHW scenario and BPII rules. Quite a quick game that probably lasted about an hour or so, but a challenge nonetheless. So as always a few thoughts:

  • Not all of the OHW scenarios work well, but this one did and I can see it becoming a good 'go to' one when inspiration or time are lacking. The only slight quibble is the fact that the Red force gains nothing from actually maintaining control of the town. As the scenario is written, all of the Red force is outside of the town, but it made sense to me to have at least some troops in there guarding the bridge. Probably one unit would have sufficed at the start, but something to consider for the future.
  • The 6 units a side worked a treat as I think more would have felt too cramped for this scenario.
  • The loss of the Red Artillery so early on really hampered their efforts for sure. Often it takes a few Turns to KO an artillery unit under these rules, but this time the shooting was excellent and the morale save poor.
  • The extra unit of Cavalry for the Blue force did give them the upper hand from the off, as they could always 'sacrifice' one unit and still, subject to break test for supporting units of course, keep this advantage. In the end this did make a telling contribution to the game, forcing the Red force back into the town.
  • With Red in the town and Blue on the hill, I was tempted to call it a draw, or at least give the Red force the Honours of War as they vacated their positions. This felt right to me and didn't affect the outcome in anyway, but just added to the 'narrative'.
  • Playing this with Honours of War would have taken longer and might have actually made it a hard job for the Blue force, due to the time it would have taken to get their troops across the ford. In BPII the generous movement rates do lead to speedy play and the Blue force did benefit from this from the first turn. It would be interesting to replay this using HoW in the future though, just to see how it would play out.
  • Both sides had their fair share of good shooting and good morale saves, which frankly helped keep the game going. If one side or the other had had a few poor morale saves or break test, then the game could have been over very quickly or a victory for Red instead.

So two games in two weeks which is pretty good going for me and as mentioned before, the OHW scenarios do make it very easy to get a game onto the table with limites space and time issues. I've never tried these scenarios using BKCII, but might do so if one feels right for giving them a run out. I will be interested to see how it works out though.

With the cold gone I hope to get some painting in next week, but one thing I've learnt is that it is often not as easy to do as I might wish. Oh for a dedicated paintg space where I could elave everything set up!

Tuesday 10 January 2023

OHW Scenario 11 - Surprise Attack

With Xmas and New Year out of the way, it was high time to try and get a game of something or the other in. After some thought I returned to Neil Thomas' scenarios from his excellent One Hour wargames book, which I hadn't played for quite some time. As many will know, they are perfect for relatively quick games when time is not always available for something larger of more involved.

The next scenario in the list was number 11: Surprise Attack, loosely inspired by the Battle of Quatre Bras. As before rather than use the random OOB from the OHW book, I used those contained in his Wargaming 19thC Europe, which work better for me, but more on that later. So the D6 die roll produced the following:

Red OOB (Defender)
5 x Infantry
1 x Light Infantry
2 x Cavalry
2 x Artillery

Blue OOB (Attacker)
4 x Infantry
2 x Light Infantry
2 x Cavalry
2 x Artillery

The Game
The set up was as per the book, but the scenario length was changed to 8 Turns as I would be using BPII rules. The distribution of the Red force and their arrival Turn was based upon those from the book, but again tweaked to fit into the 8 Turn format. 

An overview of the table with the Red defenders in place, with their flanks covered by the wood and the pond.

2 x Line Infantry and an Artillery unit formed the blocking force.

1 x Light Infantry, 1 x Line Infantry and an Artillery unit formed the Western force that would arrive on Turn 4.

2 x Cavalry and 2 x Line Infantry formed the Northern force that would arrive on Turn 2.

The Blue right wing consisted of 2 x Line Infantry supported by an Artillery unit and 2 x Cavalry.

The left wing consisted of 2 x Light Infantry, 2 x Line Infantry and a supporting Artillery unit.

The Blue Cavalry pushed towards the pond, whilst the Infantry moved towards the blocking position on the road. Fire from them caused some disruption on the Red Infantry. The Blue Light Infantry failed to arrive. In response the Red force caused some hits and disruption on the Blue Line Infantry and Artillery.

Firing quickly erupts along both lines.

On Turn 2 a fight breaks out as the Red Cavalry charge their Blue counterparts, breaking one Blue Cavalry unit.

The end of Turn 2 (apologies for the bad shot). The Blue Light Infantry arrived and moved through the wood to threaten the Red right flank. Firing caused a Red Line Infantry unit to make a Disorderly Retreat. Both sides took hits and some disorder, with the Blue Artillery going shaken. The Red Cavalry got the better of the first engagement and followed up the retreating Blue unit, but could not catch it to make a sweeping advance.

The Blue right wing failed to make passage of lines and so stalled in the ploughed field.

The Blue left wing and Light Infantry have caused the Red blocking position to break up.

The Blue Light Infantry in the woods.

The Red Northern force arrives and takes up position astride the crossroads, which are the objective.

The victorious Red Cavalry are just out of range to make a sweeping advance into contact.

The end of Turn 3. The Blue Light Infantry fail to move in the woods, but the Line Infantry in the centre make short work of the Red blocking postion, breaking the remaining Line Infantry and Artillery there. The Blue Cavalry retires and a Line Infantry unit moves to the edge of the pond to cover them. The Red Cavalry likewise retires and there is no action from their Infantry, other than to rally off a hit.

The Blue troops break open the blocking position.

The Red Line Infantry rally off a hit to try and prolong their staying power faced by strong forces to their front.

Early on Turn 4 the Red Cavalry makes a desperate charge at the Blue Artillery, which fails to hit them as they close in, which leads to their demise. The Red cavalry then carries on into the Blue Infantry formed in column and makes short work of them too. Satisfied, they retreat to reform.

The end of Turn 4. The Blue forces advance where they can and combined fire sees a Red Line Infantry unit forced to retreat disordered, just as the Red Western Force arrives. Fortunately the Red Cavalry's do-ro-die charge helps stabilise things as they break up the Blue attack in the centre.

The Blue Line Infantry help support the Blue Cavalry, who could only look on helplessly as the enemy rode down their Artillery and Line Infantry.

The Blue centre is looking vulnerable and the Artillery is wary of the Red Cavalry reforming by the burnt oak tree.

The Blue Light Infantry try their best to disrupt the Red Western Force as it arrives.

The view from the Red Western Force postion as they deploy.

The Red Cavalry look on, happy with their work so far.

The end of Turn 5. Things hang in the balance for both sides. The Blue Cavalry makes a desperate charge to tie down the Red Cavalry, which they do, but are forced back to reform and are disordered. As the Blue Line Infantry and Artillery advance, both sides causes hits and disorder on each other.

The Blue Line Infantry have moved across to cover the Artillery from any possible charge by the Red cavalry.

Casualties are building up on both sides.

The Blue Light Infantry cannot quite cause enough problems for the Red force.

At the start of Turn 6, disaster befalls the Blue Line Infantry unit that is covering the Artillery unit, as it is broken by firing and flees the table.

The end of Turn 6. Once again the Cavalry charge each other, with the Red Cavalry coming off worst, having to retreat back disordered. The Blue cavalry has taken a beating too and is in no fit state to pursue. The Blue Infantry have the better of the firefight, breaking a Red Line Infantry unit that retreats off the table.

A Blue Line Infantry unit makes a disorderly retreat to make way for a fresh unit and to preserve itself for later on.

The end of Turn 7. Both sides take and inflict significant casualties on each other, with units shaken and disordered across the front. One Blue Line Infantry unit is once again thrown back shaken and disordered. With things looking desperate, the Red Cavalry once again charges its opponent, but despite a numerical advantage, one Red Cavalry unit is broken, but at least they break the Blue Cavalry too.

The Blue Line Infantry unit forced back by a failed break test.

Mutually Assured Destruction.

Things are getting tight with the Blue units having the slight edge.

On Turn 8, the Red force is in a desperate situation, with most of its Line Infantry close to breaking. Once again the Red Cavalry makes a do-or-die charge into the Blue Artillery's flank, breaking it and then forcing the Blue Line Infantry to retreat disordered.

The end of Turn 8. Red snatches Victory from the jaws of Defeat by a last ditch cavalry charge! Blue had inflicted shaken and disorder more or less across the whole Red frontage, leaving the Red units in a parlous state. Victory for Blue was so close yet so far...

The Blue Line Infantry forced back when they were so close to the objective.

The Cavalry hold position as the Red troops try to reform.

The view from the Red positions. A close run thing for sure!

End of Game
Well what a game! It swung too and from for several Turns and Victory was gained on the last Red command roll, for the Cavalry to make the game winning charge. It was a Victory but a bloody one fir sure, with both sides having take quite heavy losses. Not quite Pyrrhic but too close for comfort.

Post Game Thoughts
It was good to be gaming again and it certainly proved to be entertaining start to the New Year. As always some thoughts on what worked, what didn't etc and in no particular order:
  • These OHW scenarios with relatively small forces make for a great mid-week type game, certainly for when time is at a premium. I reckon this game took about an hour or just over to actually play, but around two when adding in taking notes and photos. Set up is also really quick as there is minimal terrain, which can of course be added to depending upon the period played.
  • 10 units aside for this game is OK, but it felt a little tight on the 2' x 2' board. Maybe this scenario would have been better on a 2' x 3' one, to give a bit more room for manouevre on the flanks. Certainly with the generous BPII movement and shooting, you are right into the action straight away. It would be interesting to replay this at some point, but using Honours of War instead.
  • I took on board Norm Smith's idea for these 2' x 2' games of using 3 bases per unit rather than the normal 4 I use for most games. It certainly works well for games on my 2' x 2' baord and I will continue down this route for future game I'm sure. Thanks Norm!
  • I have to hold my hand up to some schoolboy errors with the rules, namely removing the Shaken status of units at the end of their Turn. Of course this only applies to Disordered, which I completely forgot about! However it did have the unforeseen benefit of making the game carry on until the final Turn for the dramatic ending! If I had plyed it correctly it might have all been over bar the shouting by around Turn4, but we will never know...
  • The Red Cavalry were certainly the stars of the show and kept the Red forces in the game with their two charges into the Blue guns. Upon reflection if the Blue Cavalry had got the upper hand early on, then it might have led to an easy Blue victory. Going forward I think I need to make my own random lists table, reducing the Cavalry and Artillery, as the latter can have a devastating effect in a small game too. Something to think about and work up some ideas in the future.
  • Going first in these small BPII games does confer a slight advantage IMHO, as you tend to get your shots in first, which if you're lucky, can lead to some Disorder or maybe even Shaken status, which impedes the otherside when it's their Turn. The alternating actions by Brigades as per Honours of War might provide a better solution. Again something to ponder once I've got a few more games under my belt.

That's it for now but I hope to get another similar type game in soon. I had planned on starting painting stuff for my planned France 1940 Campaign (more of which in another post) but I put my back out on New Year's Day, so haven't been able to sit comfortable enough to actually paint anything. I'm nearly there so fingers crossed I'll get something done this week.

So until next time, stay safe and keep healthy and hope you avoid the horrible cold that's doing the rounds this neck of the woods.