Thursday, December 7, 2017

Thoughts About One Hour Wargames Medieval

With respect to Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargame Medieval rules, as I have mentioned before, I have no experience with any other medieval rules to compare but they work well enough for me and feel different than the WW2 set, which is good enough (what can I say, I set a low bar). While I enjoy playing them, they are not without issues, owing, in large part, to the very simplicity I find so appealing.

If you can focus on anything but that curling cat hair, you are a better person than I am.

In my last outing, I was perplexed by how to handle units in the town.

What qualifies as "in town"? How many units can be in the same town? This is important as units get a significant defensive bonus (halving hits against it) from being in town.

And does the idea of knights fighting in a town have precedent? See,not only do I not have any experience with medieval wargames, I know virtually nothing about the time period outside of Hollywood depictions. I just happen to think armor is really cool.

Ignoring my ignorance of history for the moment (I know it looms large, but please, for the sake of this discussion), the questions about towns from a rules perspective still stand.

In the event, I ruled that two units could count the defensive bonus from the town, as long as half, or near half of the base was inside the borders defined for it. My rationale was that, for this scenario, the map showed a 4" x 6" town approximately.  My bases are roughly 4" square. Depth is not given in the rules (a width of 4" to 6" is suggested) but I have to imagine that most people aren't using 54mm+ figures on deep bases. I figured that at least two bases would fit for most people, so I would allow the same if the units were in base to base contact. I'm not sure this is the best rationale and I welcome suggestions.

Now with regards to that defensive bonus.

At the end of the game, a unit of men-at-arms entered the town. They have a natural bonus of taking only half damage. When they are in town, do they take half again, so that men-at-arms take 1/4 damage? I couldn't find anywhere in the rules that says these bonuses aren't cumulative and so 1/4 damage it was. I'm not convinced this is the best for game play, but lacking any reason not to do so, it worked well enough. It also means you should probably hold your town with men-at-arms, which doesn't sound wrong to me in light of my ignorance of the period and despite my failure to do so for the Redsylvanian forces.

Neither of these rules questions are show stoppers, but players will have to address them when they arise. If you play solo, as I do, you can, like I often do, make a different decision each time and no harm done (or by coincidence make the same decision each time because you forgot what you did last time), but if you're playing the game with others, it's probably for the best to decide this ahead of time, and use the Morschauser suggestion to dice between differing opinions and move on.

For a much more in depth look at the rules, here are some links I came across that address the issues with much detail and thought:

https://ecw40mmproject.blogspot.com/2017/05/whats-missing-in-one-hour-wargames-rules.html
https://darkages40and25.blogspot.com/2017/10/one-hour-wargames-medieval-rules.html

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

One Hour Wargames: Scenario 10 : Late Arrivals

The Prince of Redsylvania, having failed to stop the Kingdom of Mavi's advance ordered a stand against the invaders outside of the village of Sătesc. Unfortunately, ready troops were in short supply and so the Prince found himself hoping reinforcements would arrive in time to repel the the enemy.

**********
For the second scenario, in what is a very low key campaign, using one of the methods suggested by Neil Thomas in One Hour Wargames, I diced between scenarios 7 through 12 in the same book. A roll of the d6 resulted in 4: Scenario 10: Late Arrivals

The orders of battle were as follows:
  • Kingdom of Mavi - 4 Knights, 1 Levies, 1 Men-at-Arms
  • Redsylvania - 4 Knights, 1 Archers, 1 Men-at-Arms
For the sake of continuity, I changed the compass direction (treating the N as an S) given on the map and description for Scenario 10, deciding that it made more sense if the village was at the north end of the map to reflect the northward movement of the Kingdom of Mavi from the previous game.

All is quiet. Too quiet.
Redsylvania, confusingly the blue army in this scenario, deployed their archers and men-at-arms per the initial deployment rules for the scenario. The units were chosen by die roll and probably would not have been my first choice.  Also, because they had lost the previous scenario, one of the Redsylvanian units would start with 1d3 damage. This was again determined by die roll and would be their 6th unit to arrive on the table (one of the Knight units).

Finally, to prevent me from devolving into a constant changing of plans turn to turn, i decided orders were required for each side, beyond the objective of the scenario. I created three possible strategic plans for each and diced between them. These, to the extent possible, guided the movement and turn to turn tactical decisions for the units.



**********

The archers reconsider their career choice.
Redsylvanian men-at-arms prepare to meet the charging Mavi knights
Redsylvanian reenforcements crash into the Mavi troops!
The Mavi levies are quickly eliminated.
The same unit of Redsylvanian knights rides down a unit of Mavi knights! They would see their own defeat soon after.
The last two units of Redsylvanian knights arrive but are handily disposed of in devastating flank attacks.
Mavi men-at-arms capture Sătesc as the last of the Redsylvanian resistance dissipates.


**********

Figures are mostly Deetail. The oversized levies are Supreme 60mm saracens. Rules used were the Medieval rules in One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas without modification.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

To My Surprise, Painting Continues

Yesterday's lunch hour was lost to buying jumper/booster cables and refiling sheet music, but today I had some time and managed to squeeze in some painting. For those following along, I'm painting the Armies in Plastic Highlanders I acquired some time ago.

Since there's not much different about the work on this batch of four from the last, I thought I'd show how I haul my figures, paints, brushes, and water jar to and from the office instead.



The plastic tray is from one of my son's bento boxes. This one took a fall from the counter top to the tiled kitchen floor that resulted in a sizable crack to one of the corners  (not unlike how I've damaged numerous cell phones). While this allegedly made it unfit as a lunch box, it was easily re-purposed into a project tray.

The tray is fairly heavy and sturdy and doesn't move around much during the commute - although for safety's sake it rides in my son's car seat (he doesn't ride with me for my commute, so there's no conflict).

You can also see that I use craft paints primarily.I have a good number of Vallejo model paints - mostly shades of green and brown for WW2 - but not nearly as many as I have craft paint. The latter work just as well in most cases, although I do prefer Vallejo white to white craft brands.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Medieval One Hour Wargames Flank Attack.

Saturday night, I had the opportunity to put toy soldiers on the table and decided my medieval collection needed an outing. The rule choice was easy - my armies are based for One Hour Wargames. For a scenario, I used the same book and a quick roll of a die determined I'd play Scenario 6: Flank Attack.

Per the rules, I diced for the opposing forces:

Red
4 Knights
1 Men at Arms
1 Levy

Blue
3 Knights
2 Men at Arms
1 Levy

The setup: The Redsylvanian prince, having learned of  an advancing column of the army of the Kingdom of Mavi*, deployed a small blocking force on the road north of the Twin Hills, while organizing a larger force to stage a flanking attack.

Individual unit location was determined by die rolls for both sides.



The scenario objective: Blue is to get three units off the table via the road by the end of turn 15, while Red is to stop them. The notes suggest that the flank attack needs to strike quickly to prevent the small force blocking the road from collapsing under the weight of the advancing enemy.

In the event, the Mavi army split their effort: with some of the force dedicated to breaking through while the rest focused on intercepting the flanking attack. In retrospect, probably a poor plan.




The worst of the fighting concentrated north of the Twin Hills, and boiled down to a scrum between men-at-arms:



This battle by the hill went on longer than it should have, because I didn't realize the Redsylvanian unit was attacking uphill  - which should have reduced the damage they caused. They had clamored over the dead and that put them at equal height with the Mavi unit on the hill. Hence my confusion.

Meanwhile, the Redsylvanian forces blocking the road collapsed - but not before doling out significant damage to the Mavi troops - and the first Mavi unit, the levies, made its way north via the road. However, since the battle by the hills was going to be close, the Mavi commander ordered his last unit of knights, despite being worn out and on the verge of collapse (14 points of damage!), to strike the Redsylvanian men-at-arms from the rear.

Thus caught, the Redsylvanians had no chance. They met their end in turn 11.


This was not enough for a Mavi victory, which required three units off the table before the end of turn 15. The knights, with their 12" movement rate off road (15" on road) had an easy time of it. But the Mavi men-at-arms had a way to go, and with a paltry 6"/9" of movement.

Eyeballing it, I wasn't sure they'd make it, but in turn 14, the Kindgom of Mavi claimed victory.

All in all it was a fun engrossing game, and little more than an hour from setup to tear down. I don't know when I'll get to play again so hopefully this scratches the itch for awhile.

*according to Google, mavi is the Turkish word that means 'blue'

Monday, November 20, 2017

A Noticeable Improvement

Thanks to those who commented on my last post.

Today at lunch I took the opportunity to cover the straps in white and eliminate the black lining attempt. Here are two of our stalwart soldiers (the other two are not presentable - I slop the white on and then cut in with the tunic color).

Aside from how visible the horrible job i did trying to clean the flash off these figures (i would have been better off leaving it), is in these pictures,  i think the straps and bags look immeasurably better than in the previous post and much closer to what i had in mind.





It took the entirety of my lunch to get them to this state, so I will probably finish tomorrow out with the other two. With some time during the upcoming long Thanksgiving weekend (I'm in the US) and a few lunch hours, I hope to get this unit of 10 figures completed before December arrives.

Oh and I forgot to mention before, but these are Armies in Plastic - but you probably already knew that!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Making Time to Paint

It is an unfortunate fact of reality that things get in the way. Or rather, there isn't enough time to do everything - and in my case that means toy soldiers get pushed aside for other things. 

Except I REALLY miss wargaming when I don't get to play at least monthly. I could field a WW2 or medieval game just about any time, but I am still  hooked on my 1/32 VSF idea.

It occurred to me that at least two days a week, my lunch hour is free (the other days I walk. Trying to stay heart healthy and fit and all that.) So, yesterday, I brought my Highlanders, paint, brushes and jar for the water for brush cleaning (pro tip: don't put this next to your coffee cup, unless you like dipping paint brushes in your coffee. smh)

I'm really rusty on painting and so I'm not at all happy with how these are going, but they aren't done yet. Maybe by the time I am finished they'll look more satisfactory to my eyes. In any case, I'm going for "toy-soldier-with-black lining", so there won't be any shading to speak of.


All Things Considered coffee mug for scale. Not really, I just like it - from an NPR pledge drive many years ago.

Monday, September 4, 2017

German Defense of Pomme de Terre, France, October 1944

In October, 1944,  "Pumpkin Company" (of US 16th Infantry Regiment) with support of elements of 1st Division encountered elements of German Kampfgruppe  Hefeweizen outside the town of Pomme de Terre.

Map showing initial dispositions and movements.
US command had determined hill 736b would be the objective and to that end, the effectiveness of German defenses in the town were minimized. However, German mortars, situated behind the town and relying on spotters based with German platoons in the area, played a significant role in the action that took place in Paulette's Woods.

A single German platoon held the woods gallantly with help from the mortars until the US concentrated the platoons of Pumpkin Company on their position and forced them out of the fight.

Cat is not to scale.
US armor and anti-tank support focused their efforts on hill 736b, weakening the defenders, but they could not withstand the barrage of mortar, rifle, and anti-tank fire received in return.

Press photo.
It was left to the fighting men of Pumpkin Company to clear out the Germans and capture the hill. From their protected position within Paulette's Woods, Pumpkin Company subjected the hill-based defenders to withering fire.

Outgunned, the Germans abandoned the hill and, with that, their position in the town become untenable; the German forces retreated.

***
This action was payed out using Neil Thomas's One Hour Wargame rules with his scenario 14, Static Defence. It was actually the 2nd time playing the same scenario in the same evening.

Given the vagaries of NT's rules - attacking infantry in a town or woods is BAD PLAN. And the 1st effort ended in 7 or so turns. Oh, and mortars in NT's rules are pretty deadly for infantry in the open. As they should be.

For this second attempt, using the same forces, I focused my efforts on the hill, while keeping my own infantry under cover - to much better effect.

It came down to turn 14 before the US platoons stepped foot on the hill and ended the game.

The observation rules in NT's WWII rule set played a role in the victory, as they had moved outside of the mortar's line of sight, and there were no units left within 12" to spot the US platoons on the mortar team's behalf.

I have since played another game, the start of a very simple campaign. We'll see how that goes - campaigns, even simple ones, often falter.