15 January 2017

A Little Imagination

After a brief respite, and a clearing of the table, AJ and I setup a game of 18th century Imaginations. For those unfamiliar with the concept, an Imaginations game entails playing with fictional forces in an historical period, in this case the 18th century. Having got out of our system the need to play something truly fantastical earlier in the day with some Star Wars starships, this game provided for the need to play something more traditional. Accompanying the game would be fine wine, Bach, and cigars for the debrief. As I am still completing my forces for the fictional nation of Nordstrum, we would be using my Father's collection. He has this convenient habit of leaving his figures in my gaming bunker. His excellent blog can be seen here: http://spqrdave.blogspot.ca/

AJ chose to command the forces of Das KaiserReich. This German Protestant force consisted of a Musketiere Brigade, a Fusiliere Brigade, a Grenadiere Brigade, a Cavalry Brigade, and a Light Brigade. The unique facet of the KaiserReich forces is the size of their infantry battalions, at 28 figures they are considered large units with bonuses to firepower, melee, and stamina.

I would command the forces of Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie. This French Catholic force consisted of two Infantry brigades, a Grenadier brigade, and a Cavalry brigade. The unique facet of the Gourmandie forces is the larger contingent of artillery and the single large Guard cavalry unit.

The battlefield we set up was a traditional affair featuring fields, lonely trees, village buildings, and a forested river on one flank. I like to provide a natural excuse for table edges such as forests and rivers.

The monarch of Le Grand-Duche de Gourmandie is Grand-Duc Pierre Louis. The Grand-Duc does not lower himself to such base professions as commanding an army in the field. Instead, he brings with him a small orchestra to amuse him amidst the din of battle. He also is known for bringing his favored hounds with him on campaign as can be seen here. The command of the army is left in the capable hands of Jean Lafitte Roquefort, Marquis de Fromage. The Marquis is accompanied by the Arch-Bishop Ambroise de Chabichou du Poitou who ensures the religious and moral fortitude of the men.

Here local priests can be found accosting a camp follower for her un-pious activities.

The army of Das KaiserReich is commanded by KronPrinz Friedrich Wilhelm himself who likens himself to be a professional of sorts. Here, his carriage awaits him to finish the battle while locals gawk at the display of aristocracy.

AJ arrayed the army of Das KaiserReich in a linear fashion (duh) with his heavier cavalry in reserve behind the right flank. He lamented on more than one occasion that the chosen battlefield was not suited to a sweeping cavalry flank action.

The left flank of the KaiserReich forces was anchored by the Freikorps der Jagers Radeburger and the Ulanen Radeburger under the command of Freiherr Erik Von Radeburger.

I arrayed the Gourmandie army in a similar fashion with my heavy cavalry behind my left flank opposite the KaiserReich cavalry. In the middle of the field a local farmer seems oblivious to the colorful display around him.

The Gourmandie cavalry nervously awaited the advance of the KaiserReich line.

With the commencement of the battle it was time to open the wine. No 18th century battle would be complete without an appropriate vintage.

The KaiserReich forces advanced across the field in almost good order. 2. Brigade became confused by their orders (blunder roll) and stayed firmly in their starting positions. The sight of the entire army advancing without them did nothing to clear up the situation.

The light forces on the left flank of the KaiserReich army did understand the orders, unlike the right flank, and advanced steadily upon the godless Catholics. The Gourmandie artillery opened fire on the KaiserReich as they advanced. While the intensity of the fire did not cause considerable casualties, the disorder did slow down their advance.

With the advance of their infantry slowed by the Gourmandie guns, the KaiserReich opted to conduct a heavy cavalry charge against the opposing line. This melee would ultimately see the Grenadiere zu Pferde Warsteiner rout the 1er Infanterie Roquefort.

With the KaiserReichs light forces making headway on the right flank, Jean-Jaques LaPierre, Comte d'Auvergne ordered his infantry to push right. To fill in the gap in the line the Hussards Grand Duc were ordered to cover the Auvergne infantry's flank.

The 1er Infanterie d'Auvergne successfully halted the march of the Freikorps der Jagers Radeburger before they could over run the village. The Grand Duke payed little attention to these going ons in favor of his orchestra.

With the 1er Infanterie Roquefort routed, the KaiserReichs Grenadiers advanced in support. However, Gourmandie's Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin sallied forth and chased them back to their lines. A temporary success, this maneuver would be the end of the Grenadier Cavalry.

Seeing his Grenadiers falling back in the face of the heavy Gourmandie cavalry, AJ considered his options.

He opted for the bold move, crying "fortune favors the bold", and charged the Pistoliere von Doppelbock into the Grenadier Cavalry. Thankfully not performing their famed caracole, the KaiserReich cavalry slammed into the Grenadiers who could not counter charge due to being disordered.

Embracing his new found courage, AJ charged the Ulanen Radeburger into the Hussards Grand Duc on the other flank. The hussars were able to counter charge.

With decent die rolling on my side and less than decent die rolling on AJ's side, the Hussars repelled the Lancers.

The Pistolieres did not favor well either, retiring back behind their main lines. This did leave the Grenadiers a Cheval Boursin nearly shaken and in a precarious position. With KaiserReich artillery and two infantry battalions firing into them as they impotently tried to order themselves, the Grenadiers succumbed and retired from the field.

The firefight on the right flank was no going my way either and assessing the situation I adopted to honorably withdraw from the field of battle. AJ graciously granted me the dignity of withdrawing in good order.

The game complete, AJ and I braved the Canadian January temperatures with our wine and enjoyed cigars during the debrief. An imaginations game is always a pleasant experience and I happily play whenever I can. AJ and I both noted that their is something quite viscerally appealing about gaming in the 18th century. We both enjoy games ranging from WWII tanks fights to starships battling amidst the stars, but pushing colorfully painted infantry battalions and cavalry regiments about the field with the roar of cannons ringing in our imaginations seems both dignified and "right". Thank you to AJ for a wonderful day of gaming and I look forward to more imaginations gaming next weekend when my father arrives.

The rules we used were Black Powder from Warlord Games.

Attack of the Clones

My good friend AJ was up this weekend for some gaming and he brought his very unique Clone Wars starship project. I have a Star Wars starship project for the Civil War era and have gamed with it many times but the Clone Wars is a period that I have never had the pleasure of gaming, although admittedly many of the vessels are available in the later period. AJ's miniatures are a collection of the old Wizards of the Coast products, Odyssey Slipways, Studio Bergstrom, and 3D printed models from Shapeways. He has done a fantastic job painting these up and giving the right feel from the prequel movies and the Clone Wars TV series. With little deliberation AJ chose to play the Confederacy forces granting me the Republic forces.

I would be commanding a Venator Class Star Destroyer, an Acclamator Class Heavy Cruiser, a Dreadnought Class Heavy Cruiser, two Carrack Class Cruisers, and three Arquitens Class Corvettes. The fighter compliment of the Venator included LAATs loaded with concussion missiles, Eta-2 Actis interceptors, V-Wing interceptors, and ARC-170s loaded with concussion missiles.

AJ did a marvelous job painting the heavy Republic ships.

AJ commanded a Providence Class Star Destroyer, a Recuscant Class Star Destroyer, and a Munificent Class Heavy Cruiser. The Providence and Recuscant brought to bear a large compliment of Vulture Droid Fighters and Droid Tri-Fighters loaded with discord missiles.

The Confederate ships were even more impressive in their blue colours.

AJ wore an appropriate shirt considering the forces we were commanding.

Naturally I had to follow suit,

The Venator, Acclamator, and Carracks meandered slowly angled 45 degrees off from the Confederate battle line. This gave time to flush the considerable fighter compliment of the Venator off the deck. AJ did not have enough starfighter models to represent each squadron so each D6 is a squadron. The cost of the 3D printed models is high, especially to represent the entire compliment of a Venator.

The Dreadnought and Arquitens move much faster attempting a flank around the local planet.

The Confederate battle line proceeded towards the Republic heavy units at a medium speed in line abreast. The Droid fighters began to empty out of the Star Destroyers.

The Eta-2 Actis' are all off the deck of the Venator with the V-Wings following close behind. The LAATs, loaded with concussion missiles, I deemed to make an appropriate screen against the swarms of droids. While terrible dogfighters in space, their ordnance would allow me to thin the herd somewhat. As it turned out AJ played his starfighters conservatively making the exercise redundant.

AJ kept placing more and more dice to represent the Droid fighters. From my perspective it looked daunting.

The Dreadnought hooked right to cut inside of the planet and began a straight run on the flank of the Confederate line. At this point the Dreadnought was moving a whopping 1/4 light second per turn!

The Carrack cruisers accelerated and turned to face the big Confederate ships allowing both their broadsides to bear. These little ships can dish out quite a punishment compared to their size; unfortunately as soon as the enemy so much as sneezes in their direction they disintegrate into clouds of interstellar dust.

The Droid fighters had almost completely formed up by this point. It looked like it would be a Herculean task to overcome them. The long range turbolaser and ion cannon fire between the fleets intensified as the range closed. The Republic fleet concentrated fire on the front of the Munificent. I deemed this to be the most important target due to its considerable electronics suite. The Acclamator, a mark II with a heavier turbolaser armament, scored a flurry of hits well beyond the expected number. The Munificent's bow shields collapsed and the armour began to melt away.

In response to the Republican insult, the Confederate ships returned fire on the Acclamator nearly collapsing her shields. The Providence unleashed her armament of long range concussion missiles.

The Carracks, V-Wings, and LAATs were nervous as the missile salvos closed the range. I was convinced that AJ would use the concussion missiles against my screen to further tip the starfighter balance in his favor.

As the turn closed AJ had to roll multiple criticals on the Munificent. At first only some weapons and secondary systems went offline but then an unfortunate roll saw the entire front of the ship disintegrate. This caused a further critical roll on the core of the heavy cruiser. With anticipation I watch AJ roll the dice. AJ's face slumped and I grinned as the Munificent's core reactor went critical. The ELINT advantage of the Confederates had just disappeared in a hypermatter explosion.

Following that series of unfortunate events, I continued to press the attack with my Carracks and my Dreadnought screaming into close range. The Republic weapons fire, while not ineffective, failed to live up to the previous turn's miracle. The Confederate fire, seemingly out for revenge, collapsed the Acclamator's front shields and tore away the nose of the ship, taking with it the majority of the Quad Medium Turbolaser batteries. Almost as an after thought, secondary fire destroyed one of the Carracks. AJ continued to play his droid fighters conservatively. As it turned out, AJ chose to have his concussion missile salvos fly past my light screen and head for the Republic capital ships.

With the Acclamator leaking plasma fire, smoke, and clones, I turned her away to bring to bear a still shielded arc; the forward shield generators had evaporated under the intense fire. The Venator turned to face the Confederate ships. Turbolaser and Ion Cannon fire poured across the vacuum hitting the Providence and the Venator. The Venator's shields held, barely, while the Providence had her's collapse and hull begin to melt away. With the Dreadnought and Arquitens concentrating on the Recuscant at close range, AJ threw in the towel.

The debrief over beer at noon decided that the game was decided by two factors: the Acclamator will need to promote its chief gunnery officer for an amazing display of disciplined fire, and the Confederate starfighter operations officer will need to be fired for incompetence. This was my first experience with Clone Wars era gaming, an experience I will be happy to repeat in the future.

The rules we used can be found here: http://battlespacepublishing.ca/

A facebook group for our gaming group can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/battlespacepublishing.ca

09 January 2017

A Very Starfleet Refit II

Observant readers of my previous post will have noticed that there were some new models participating in the game. Having received my latest batch of models from Shapeways last week I hurried to get them complete in time for the game on Friday with the sealing coat being applied a mere two hours before the game began. Once again I have expanded the lines of my Starfleet task force, enough that I am officially retiring my old models for good.

The Akira Class Heavy Cruiser USS Kali

The New Orleans Class Frigates USS Herbert and Thefel

The Springfield Class Frigate USS Pompey

The Intrepid Class Light Explorer USS Armstrong

The Defiant Class Destroyer USS Hurricane

The Nova Class Science Vessel USS Heisenberg

The entire (new) Starfleet force as it now stands

While ordering my fleets off of Shapeways has a cost associated with it I make up for it somewhat with my lend-lease painting program. Members of the program order models to my house to be painted and order me models as well at a ratio of 3:1, i.e. if a member wanted three medium sized Starfleet vessels painted they would ship them to me as well as a fourth model of equivalent size and pricing fit for one of my many fleets.