Field of Glory Napoleonics, De Bellis Napoleonicis (v2.1) & Australian Wargames Research Group

22 July 2017

Last night was a revisit to the Castile scenario, as predicted. This time I was the attacker and my opponent the defender. Before we began, we discussed the strength of this scenario. This scenario heavily favours the defender (as witness by the previous week’s encounter), so this time round we tried to tweak to make it less potent for the defender, i.e., at least give the attacker a chance to reach the objectives.

So we settled on the following:

  • Defender gets to place one division up to 24″ from rear edge when deploying
  • Defender gets to place another division up to 12″ from rear edge
  • Defender (if able to) will place third division in reserve. Dice roll on Game Turn 2 to determine appearance on table.

Game began quietly enough. I made a couple of fatal mistakes that was to result in heavy losses for me. First mistake was not sealing the crossroads; I already knew the heavy cavalry division (the reserve) would show up on this front so my aim was twofold: press for the objective marker to the rear of the woods while hemming in the heavy cavalry.

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But I got distracted by the tempting target of the arty bty near the woods. I didn’t realise my Light Infantry and supporting Line Inf (behind my second arty bty) would suffice to deal with the enemy gunners and any threat spilling down from the hills to my front.

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My second mistake was delaying in attacking the other enemy arty bty with my Hussars. They were stalled initially but then dawdled as they assessed the likelihood of the enemy Lt Cav menacing from the rear.

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Well, both tactical errors were to have dire consequences.

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Firstly my French Line successfully assaulted the enemy guns, but not before escaping a close thing as the enemy heavy cavalry attempted to intercept. Engaged as they were, the enemy heavy cav then set sights on my lone Lt Inf unit isolated from any support. The heavy cav were joined by one of the enemy Ln units off the hill. Their dual attack totally annihilated my Lt Inf. Mistake one paid for.

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Next my Hussars charged the enemy guns and easily routed them but then tried to press an attack on the enemy inf on the hill. They were pushed back just in time to be conked by the enemy Lt Cav. My guys were spent and forced back. The enemy cav pursued and engaged my large arty unit and wiped them out before once more contacting my broken Hussars and annihilating them. Shades of last week revisited upon me.  Mistake two paid for, and then some.

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By now, the two hours was up. I had lost over three units which ordinarily would have meant a victory for my opponent. But this scenario is different, and it’s the only one not to use the normal scoring system.

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As my opponent reminded me gently, I had a unit within the village. This meant 3 points. But I was kicking myself for making simple mistakes that my opponent rightly profited from. And it shouldn’t detract from his excellent efforts in exploiting my cock-ups to the full.

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Reviewing the scenario again, I can see that it needs further tweaking. The emphasis on this scenario was always to make it a defensive one for the defender and not an attacking one, as was evident from last night’s demolition.  I don’t know if it was intentional but the capture of the village was not contested. This may have been the fault of our tweaking the defensive setup, in particular hamstringing the Mixed division’s deployment to just 12″. This will probably return to free ranging the entire 24″.

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This also means a return to the original deployment of 24″ for all defending units. But this time, the number of units available to the defender will be restricted; a defender must play with 2 units or 1 full division (whichever is the greater). See how that pans out.


20 July 2017

Scenario: Castile
Got another game this Friday at my gaming buddy’s home. Same map. But this time I’ll be doing the attacking and hoping to gain at least one or two objective markers.

There are a few minor changes to the layout and terrain itself. Firstly, we’re swapping the fields around the mansion in the Attacker’s deployment area. The revised will have the fields to the fore. This is to make it more artillery-friendly because the fields have an impact on movement, especially cavalry, and better assist the artillerymen in a defensive capacity.

Secondly, the stream that ran through the swamp in the northwest corner of the map has been removed. It is now just a swamp. My gaming opponent did mention in our game that the swamp is perfect placement because it narrows the approach of potent units, such as shock heavy cavalry.

Finally, the village will now be placed on circular bases of roughly 10″ diameter. The use of single buildings to represent built up areas (hamlets, small villages) can be confusing to some players who see them solely as single buildings. This is fine for regimental- or battalion-based games; but in corps-level, it doesn’t work well. So, the village/town of San Simone d’Appollino will become a 10″ diameter base on which any number of building models can be placed and still allow for deployment within that now-BUA with ease and comfort.

We’re struggling to get a 2-hour limit solution with each scenario we play. This is largely due to deployment, i.e., the time it takes, player’s decisions, etc. The best we achieve in our last game was +2.5 hours for total game time (including deployment and play). So we’ve looked at where we can cut down on time-wastage.  We are still working on it. Hopefully, something positive can come from this Friday’s game.

FoGN v2
Today I received the latest revised version of the FoGN v2 draft. This is v4 (June 2017). I’m told there will be a further tweaked version, as a result of feedback from the recent LGA FoGN tournament in Melbourne.

In case anyone is reading this, I’ve been trying to get FoGN up and running here in Brisbane since 2015 (not long). I’ve held two FoGN events with reasonable success.  I’ve even had players from NZ come over for a taste of Nap dancing.

My latest FoGN venture, slated for Oct of this year, will be a variation of the current system. I will be using 650 points instead of the usual 800 points. I will also use scenarios with fixed terrain. Timeframe for each game will be less than the standard 3 hours: I’m trying for an incredible two-hour timeframe. Why? My event will be a one-dayer instead of the traditional two-day event.

Finally, I’ve gone with 20mm because it’s been my preferred scale since I started collecting at the age of twelve, and because it was all that was both available and affordable (for me) at the time. 15mm (fast becoming the tournament standard within Australia for these rules) and 28mm (also popular but more common in garage gaming than events).

This probably means this upcoming event will be a once-only. With the eventual release of version 2, any future Napoleonic event will return to the standard tournament format of 15mm, 800 points, three-hour games, and two day events.

QGG club
I’ve been involved with the club since 2011. At the time of my joining, it was just surviving. But over the years, as those stalwarts who were there have moved on, the club has slowly died out, especially in the club day aspect. I cannot recall any club day in my time there ever fielding above twelve (I’m being generous with my ceiling). Most times, it would only be a couple, and there were often times when I was there all by myself.

Recently, within the past two years, the club days have been propped up by a few hardcore individuals, myself among that passionate group. But this year would have to been the most depressing time being a member. One of the club officials has recently relocated (work), and implemented a change of focus from being a physical entity to a more fluid non-entity club. What this probably means is that there is no club day but the entity that is QGG remains active via other means – social media and organising regular events.

I’ve always wanted to be a part of a gaming club. Contributing time and effort seems an integral part of being a club member, wouldn’t you agree? But since the club (represented by scheduled regular meets) has moved away from this, what is left? I’m quite fixed in my understanding of these things, and I’m lost to know what my purpose is if there is no club days.

I’ve also been burned so many times (as have others in the past) by club days being non-events (namely no one showing up) that I am now reluctant to even consider organising such happenings. I actually get more response from being an active member of a garage gaming group than an organised monthly club day.

It’s easy to revert to what’s comfortable and familiar when confronting unknown and unfamiliar. And that’s how it is at the moment within the club.

It continues to maintain a WAU forum presence (only because I choose to).  And the facebook page still operates (but under some other “club” member). QGG’s name is still familiar within the Brisbane gaming scene for many to still inquire if it continues to operate. But hardly anyone bothers to attend the club days unless they’re really desperate for a gaming partner.

The club still has a constitution. But, as far as I know, there have been no proper elections since 2015 when a handful showed up at Enoggera Bowls club and elected new officers.

Does that mean the club is operating illegally presently? I don’t know, or if I can rightly ask that question. No one has really examined the constitution to query the legality of anything the club is doing because no one knows if there still exists a constitution, or who has it.

This talk of constitution and the club direction is just a distraction in the end. What most gamers want, and need, is their regular model fix. Just like a drug addict.


Review of batrep

A couple of issues arose during the game that I failed to take note of that I want to discuss further because I think it would have changed the whole timbre of the game.

Firstly, my right rear objective (GS2 – see map in 15 July post) was within easy reach of my opponent’s shock heavy cavalry unit. All I had to defend that position was a large conscript infantry unit. I’ve checked and apart from firing, 4 dice re-rolling 6s, which would probably have negligible to zero impact, combat would have been six dice apiece with my lot needing 4s while he had to roll 5s (seems squares negate the shock heavy cav impact). It may have been a stalemate, but the dice roll can go any which way so he might have scored fantastically (as my Frenchies on the hill did against the traitors attacking them – 7 hits!). My point is that he had a real chance of defeating my guys and winning one objective (worth 2 points).

But he chose not to pursue this goal. Why? I’d hate to believe he was taking it easy on me, or that it was just a trial run of the scenario and his list so it wasn’t critical to hammer home a win. That thought makes me feel weak for believing I did well when I didn’t, and feeling humble because my opponent is real gentleman for behaving this way.

The second point that I’d like to raise is that one of my units was pushed off the hill early in the game. This hill overlooked the village – worth 3 objective points. Why didn’t my opponent seize the chance and push a unit into that vacant spot? Given most of his attention seemed to be on Tomahawk Hill and my 3-gun bty on my far left, he had nothing apart from his two batteries facing the hill.

Well, he successfully pushed them off (to which they never again made an appearance in the game choosing instead to languish in the rear licking their wounds), but he then failed to follow up. Follow up is essential in any breakthrough; and it needs to happen immediately, as soon as the hole appears. He could have done this so easily by using the Light cav unit that was in support of the attack on the hill: it had the speed to reach the hill. Imagine the look of dread on my face if this had happened!?

I really felt uncomfortable to start with because of my bad deployment. My deployment zone was 24″ deep and I chose to push up as close as possible but maintain a line that tried to take advantage of the high ground on offer. I got lucky and was able to somehow hold on by the luckiest of hope.

My faith in my artillery at the start to hold their ground seemed to have been fickle, causing me anxiety. That concern would have increased when I saw my opponent’s deployment which was solid and doable; it was setup to win. But I think my opponent got diverted by and too hooked up in taking out my artillery when the objectives were the key to winning this game. It was a thin blue line that was holding the ground.

My opponent did give me insight into how to replay the scenario through better deployment. But I won’t reveal what that is until the outcome of the next game when I will employ it.


Batrep

Finally got to have our game tonight. Played it at my place. My opponent won the dice roll and elected to attack. I deployed my units first. Once deployed, my opponent got to have his two moves.

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The photo above shows my right flank and the deployments by both sides.

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My left flank and centre.

We tried to play to the two-hours desired timeframe. The game would end at the end of Turn Six or the two hours was up.

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Initial moves by my opponent meant the first two turns were largely shooting matches.

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The shooting and movement on my left.

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My opponent’s Heavy cav unit on this flank allowed me the option of moving my troops too.

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Continued effective fire finally forced my French Ln unit off Tomale Hill, through San Simon d’Apollino. Meanwhile a large force is making for my artillery so I push my cavalry up to counter.

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Things are starting to warm up as another large force is making for Tomahawk Hill. My lights are trying to do something. But their firing has zero impact on whichever enemy unit they target.

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Assault drawing closer on my left. Will my nerve stand it or will I just panic? The suspense is killing me.

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What is surprising to me is that Tomales Hill (in my centre) is totally undefended. There are three points begging with San Simon d’Apollino undefended.

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The lone French Ln unit is able to decimate one of the assaulting units, leaving the other unit to tackle them. But they would fail and they too would end up retiring. What puzzled me is why the enemy Hvy cav did not press home an attack on the Wurttemburg Ln holding the objective.

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The assault on my artillery on Macarone Hill fails as they’re able to decimate the assaulting infantry with canister forcing one unit to flee a long way back. Meanwhile the second assaulting infantry unit would fall back. The cavalry duel would see my Hussars pushed back by the Dragoons. I’m happy with that outcome because the Dragoons were left wavering and therefore sitting ducks. I thought my Wurttemburg Jagers might follow up and force them to rout. But the Dragoons are made of sturdy stuff and actually routed my mounted Jagers!

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Having disposed of the assault on Tomahawk Hill, my guys are prepping themselves for the enemy cavalry positioning themselves to sweep my flank. All I can do is re-position my Wurttemburg infantry as best as possible and give the rest of my centre time to redeploy and help out.

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My mounted Jagers fail to dislodge the valiant Dragoons. But everything else looks a mess for my opponent on this flank. Two of his infantry units are facing recovery endeavours while I managed to rescue my Jager from completely routing off the table. My two inf units in that area are still whole and can manoeuvre to secure this flank. If need be, I could even spare one unit to help out the centre.

Game ended (time factor). My opponent had failed to capture any of the objectives. Therefore, under the tournament ruling, the victor would be the Defender who would score all the 4 points. Had my opponent even captured one, it would have been a draw.

A couple of points to arise:

  • What is the legal distance a square may move?
  • If a Div cmdr is attached to any unit, his command radius goes to zero. When a unit is wavering, can he perform any action, i.e., recovery of other units within his division, dispense orders to other units within his division even if outside command radius?

We debated that for several minutes, but will check up with the experts.

Overall, it was a close run thing. Once again, my artillery saved me. But my infantry, when it mattered (as on Tomahawk Hill) were also able to contribute both in firing and combat.

Terrain changes (if any). Decided to rearrange the fields (Attacker’s deployment zone) to the fore with the building at the rear. This might help the artillery and disadvantage cavalry who will treat it as difficult terrain.

The swamp no longer has the stream flowing through it but will remain a very inhospitable swamp.

We’re going to go with 15mm terrain for the games. They allow a bit more freedom of movement.

For built-up areas (BUA), we’re going with those MDF pre-cut circles (from the craft/hobby shops for a few bucks) as defining a normal BUA. We can have several buildings on these MDF circles that will accommodate small units.

Next game is at my opponent’s place Same map. This time, I will play the Attacker. Cheers.


15 July 2017

I was meant to play my regular Napoleonic opponent last night. Unfortunately due to a mix up with communication, we never did. So, tonight we’re hopefully going to have our game of FoGN using the Castile map. We ended up posting table pics to see who had the best layout. I cheated a little using the buildings from the first HX tourney back in 2015 for my layout. But he did have an impressive T-shaped hill.

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My gaming opponent’s setup for Castile. Looking west (nice hill).

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From the other end. The swamp in the foreground.

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My setup. Using the HX 1 terrain pieces from the same scenario. 15mm though. Looking south towards village. My T-shaped hill however isn’t up to speed, unlike my gaming partner.

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I’ve added the objective markers – fountain in village, isolated house, windmill and rock boulder.

We will be playing on my table tonight. Next week, it’ll be at his place; whatever role we play tonight will be reversed next week. Cheers.


8 July 2017

Tonight my gaming colleague and I played Hanover, one of the scenarios for the upcoming HX III event (Saturday 28th October). We had quite a few things to iron out with rules interpretation. We used the draft version.

Forces involved: French (Simon) vs French/Wurttemburg (me)

Points: 650 pts

Strategy Initiative (SI): French – Envelop; French/Wurttemburg – Prepared Attack

Attacker: Traitors

Defender: French/Wurttemburgers

Deployment:

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Batrep:

Simon’s SI meant he had one division off-table as flankers. They would dice to enter in Turn Two. My selection allowed me two free rounds of artillery bombardment on the traitors before Turn One. Their barrage was to cause one of the Line conscripts units to lose cohesion (disordered) and forced them to retire. Meanwhile the Light Cavalry boldly rode up ready to pounce on the gun line. The Light Infantry (Mixed Div.) also moved up and provided some harassing fire that seemed to have negligible effect. The rest of the infantry moved forward to prevent any quick race to the unprotected LOC.

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The Emperor’s Children moved to occupy several built-up areas (represented by single buildings) – the church and one building at the crossroads. The second gun battery faced the open right flank.

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The Emperor’s gun line was managing to hold its own in the face of the approaching Traitor’s legions, scoring enough hits on the light cavalry to stall their attack. The placement of the gun line was a gamble; had they not stopped the cavalry, things might have turned out totally different. But the spirit of the Little Corsican was strong in everyone and spurred them on to great efforts all-round.

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In Turn the traitors were able to put pressure on the Emperor’s line by advancing relatively unopposed upon the brave heroes in the gun line. The gun line itself managed to push back one of the Light Cavalry units.

The Traitor Mixed division kept pushing up, presenting a unified frontage and hoping to stymie the waiting enemy cavalry. But the Hussar group spotted a chance after the gun line pushed back the second Light Cav unit, and they charged the Light infantrymen who tried valiantly to score some hits. But they were unable to stop the charge.

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In the Emperor’s centre and centre left, there was little action but a bit of movement as the enemy conscripts tried to apply leverage and pressure towards the gun-line. But the Wurttemburg line were able to move up. The Light Infantry moved to contact the Line infantry on the hill.

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As soon as my Hussars contacted the enemy Light Infantry, things started to get dire for the enemy as the Light Infantry were beaten back. Their The Hussars pursued and contacted the again. The ensuing battle saw the Light Infantry routed, or destroyed because there was a friendly unit to their immediate rear. After the surrounding units tested for cohesion (faring poorly unfortunately) the Hussars chose to pursue after passing their own CMT test and struck the Light Cavalry that were the Light Infantry’s stop gap.

Decimated by the gun-line, these Light Cavalry were already suffering cohesion issues and fought handicapped. This caused their rout after poor dice, and they moved to the edge of the table where the Hussars, following up, pursued and struck into them once more, routing them completely.

But it was not the end for the Hussars who then wheeled and rammed into the poor conscripts. Already wavering, they were immediately routed. Tired, exhausted, the Hussars had single-handedly routed three units (one cavalry and two infantry).

But now game was over because 30% losses were incurred by the Traitors (Vive l’Empereur!) in that turn. This meant the traitors’ heavy cavalry were unable to make their appearance and thus influence the game in any way — as it sometimes happened historically.

As my opponent said, there were a few positives to emerge from this test-run:

  1. 6′ x 4′ table is good. It allows for quicker contact between opposing forces.
  2. The improved firing and combat tables work well enough.
  3. Time-wasting on the gaming table is now cut down.
  4. A result can now be had within three or four turns.
  5. Each game gives a clearer idea of how we’re going to run this event in October.

Next game will see Castile being played. Hopefully, it will be this week. Cheers.


Update:

We both enjoy the new beta version of FoGN. It’s a radical change of thought from the original core rules. But both Simon and I are embracing the improvements and finding wonders in the new revamped structure and refinements of the rules. We love the strategies innovation. Likewise, we are both enjoying the terrain placements.

The core appeal of the game is still there: corps-level gaming is a different and difficult kettle of fish for those more used to battalion-level tactics.

Simon found one query that he will bring up on the Slitherine forum boards. Cheers.


7 May 2017

Wow. Nearly a month gone by since last report. Tonight, the game began very late and therefore was stopped before it got too late. Lol. Given I’m not posting this report at 2.06am Sunday morning, I think perhaps that excuse is invalid. Anyway, went round to Simon’s place for a game of FoGN. Here is a visual report with minimal commentary. Cheers.

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Photo 1: Table setup before deployment. Used the terrain section for this. We’ve never really used it in our games of FoGN. But we love it now and are getting accustomed to seeing a terrain that is hardly what we envisaged.

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Photo 2: French/Wurttemburg left flank. Looking towards the Upper Kedron river. The enemy cuirassiers are a menace that will cause consternation among the frightened infantry.

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Photo 3: Looking across to my opponent’s centre. I chose Prepared Assault while he opted for Frontal Assault. I therefore got one free round of artillery bombardment. That’s why my battery is so far forward. It looks disconcerting but my centre will move up shortly to add protection.

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Photo 4: My isolated right flank. I had two light cav units and one bty facing three cav and two inf units. Hardly fair, what!?

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Photo 5: “Pretend you’re a water dragon….”

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Photo 6: In the centre, much happened after the initial free bombardment. Lots of people got upset with each other.

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Photo 7: My left flank or foot.

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Photo 8: Simon’s attack is fierce and unrelenting. Oh, the ho-raw of it all!

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Photo 9: The enemy cuirassier scares the bejeebers out of me and my units. Good move to go square there. Promote that man!

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Photo 10:

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Photo 11:

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Photo 12: This is the situation (above) at the end of my firing phase of the last turn of the game. The rest of the photos show the moves I was able to make but by then the game was very much academic. It was well after midnight when we finished; we’d started around 6.30pm. It took roughly an hour to set up the terrain and then deployment. Simon was the “Attacker” while I was the “Defender” even though we’d both selected aggressive strategies/scenarios.

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Photo 13: What the situation looked like after my movement phase. Simon, being the “aggressor” always moved first; the above is my phase of the last game turn.

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Photo 14: My right was done insofar as the lone bty would be gone very soon but not before giving some damage to both the infantry and reforming cavalry (projected by me). My victorious Hussars had intended to intercept the enemy infantry assaulting the artillery bty. But Simon suggested the alternative of going for his LOC (which was always my intent).

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Photo 15: The view of the centre where my planned moves would be: the rifles in the woods would harass the enemy artillery whilst the Wurttemburg line would assault the French line who are either wavering or disordered. The two French line units near the LOC are also suffering from the “jitters” so aren’t really a threat. But the cuirassiers and the guns on the steep hill are, or will have been had we continued. But then it would three am before I left Simon’s home.

Outcome: Honours even. Simon plays a mean game. I am still suffering the shakes whenever I hear that he’s got shock heavy cavalry in his list. But my French hussars are superior veterans, so there’s some measure of compensation, although my infantry types might argue that point with you.

Overall, it was a good game to get under our belts as we both need it but have difficulty finding the time to devote to a more regular routine than once a month, which is reasonable given that was our club’s usual meet time.

Until the next game in June. Cheers.


1 April 2017

Get together today. Mix of games: FoGN, Rapid Fire, Magic the Gathering, and X Wing. Yes, they are all Historical (if you’re from the future/a time traveller).

FoGN (Angus vs Lawrence)

Angus and myself played out our continued interest in FoGN. Angus bought along his Swedish/Finnish army, this time, they’ve got a little more paint. Really excited to see how these eventually look once fully complete.

As for the game, we used the same setting up a points based game. We chose the attacker (me) and the defender (Angus). We then selected our strategies and both ended up with Frontal Assault.

I chose to aggressively advance on all fronts. My right flank assault with my cavalry, however, was stymied and then smashed by the Swedish dragoons and artillery fire. As a result, my flank folded as first one unit wavered. It seemed to set in motion a panic wave that spread to the other units.

In the centre, my grenadiers confidently marched up the road, hoping to push back the Swedes. But stern firing by the veteran line told on my grenadiers who suddenly remembered they needed to return home for some courage. Both grenadier units were routed first by the enemy fire and resulting panic after the nearby Cossacks fled.

Only my left flank seemed to enjoy some success. But it was too late. Congrats to Angus who is slowing getting a handle on the rules, so he tells me.

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View from Russian side. Grenadiers advancing up road to contact the Swedes. The cavalry action on the right is messy but the Swedish dragoons will smash the Russian Hussars while the Cossacks will withdraw because of heavy accurate artillery fire
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The situation on the Russian right flank.
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The Swedish dragoons have smashed the Russian Hussars and are keen to repeat the same on the harassed Cossacks. Meanwhile the Russian grenadiers are finding it hard going as the Swedes musketry is both heavy and extremely telling. The lead brigade will lose heart and rout, leaving the following brigade to face the same intense fire. And they too will lose heart and flee.
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The Russian left flank is relatively quiet, mostly musket fire between both sides affects movement. The Russian musketeers want to close with the Swedes but they are smart enough to evade their enemy. The Swedish strongpoint is handy, anchoring that flank for the Swedes.
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The centre is now less congested as the first Russian grenadier unit has fled the table. The Russian Cossacks are about to feel the fury of the Swedish dragoons. Note: the Russian position battery had a disappointing day, having little impact on the targets it chose.
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Things are getting tense for the Russians here. Their cavalry will, however, prove effective in tying down two Swede/Finnish brigades.

 

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The situation facing the lone infantry unit – the Opolchenie. But their morale is fragile, and the Swedes now advance down the road towards them.

 

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The end of the game sees the Swedes in strong position in the centre. They have repulse the Russian advance there. Their left flank is also strong while the right is holding their own against the late Russian advance. Win for the Swedes!!

Star Wars X Wing (Glynn vs Angus)

Angus and Glynn played out a quick game of X Wing. Angus ran a Decimator-led (2 ships) list while Glynn chose an Arc-led list (3 ships). 100 points.

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Arc-170 (Sasha Bey), X Wing (Biggs Darklighter) and a Y wing

 

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Decimator and Soontir Fel

W40K – 3rd Edition (Glynn vs David)

Eldar vs IG (WW2 German as proxies)

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Guardians, Hvy spt wpn and Dire Avengers

 

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Fire Dragons and their ride stare down some IG

 

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Sniper Vyper

Magic the Gathering (David vs Glynn)

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Rapid Fire (David vs Bryce)

Germans vs British (Paras?)

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Summary

Great day of gaming. Multiple systems played, and it was a good atmosphere. David and Bryce also turning up was a welcome opportunity.

Got a new 3D printing: 30+ jeeps for the Battle of Arnhem refight planned for 2018 (keeps getting pushed back but hopefully we can, as a group, get our act this time round). Cheers.

Next meetup is May at Simon’s house. May bring down some boardgames as well as some 8th edition Warhamer Fantasy.


26 March 2017

Photo batrep. Firstly, the game:

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Opposing sides: (top photo) Russian 1812, (bottom photo) French 1812

The terrain: Eastern Europe.

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From Russian side: Left flank. Russian LOC already in place

 

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View from Russian side: Centre. Village in foreground. Enemy LOC at the background

 

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Broad expanse on this flank: Russian right

Opening moves: French chose Positional Defence while Russians selected Prepared Assault. Part of the condition for Prepared Assault, aside from the being the attacker, was a free bombardment of three full turns from the centreline. Ouch!

 

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Russian deployment was heavily weighted on their left, making it easy to see where the attack would emanate

Once game proper began, the Russians sought to turn the French right. The French centre was sort of reeling from the damage created by the early bombardment and could not really help out their comrades.

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For much of the game, the French centre and left flank (the heavy cavalry) were sort of left in limbo while all the action took place on their right.

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The drama unfolding on this flank

 

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The situation in the centre. From the Russian side

 

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The French heavy cavalry attempt to enter the game as their centre finally advances to cause nuisance to the Russians.

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Situation on this Russian left sees combat between the light cavalry. The Russian Hussars are involved in a fierce struggle to maintain control of the extreme left but is eventually forced to flee the field. But they manage to stall the cavalry threat.

Meanwhile the fight for the open woods is a seesaw struggle with the French light infantry repelling the initial attempt by the Cossacks to expel them just as one of the Russian grenadier units arrive in support.

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My opponent by now was a little tipsy from all the free-flowing claret and therefore missed an excellent opportunity to engage the sneaky Russian Cossack hovering menacingly in the open. Seizing the opportunity presented them, the Cossacks raced past the heavy cavalry threat and made a beeline for the LOC.

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The Russian Hussars in their second melee; this time they would suffer defeat and ultimately flee the field. Meanwhile the Russian grenadiers are about to tackle the French light infantry in the open woods. In the background, the French units that suffered from the initial artillery bombardment finally begin their advance.

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CONCLUSION
The match thus ended as both players were a little worse for wear after consuming too much claret. Plus it was very late. We adjourned though very happy with our first real playtest of the new draft upgrade. We especially found the new mechanism for generating strategies a brilliant piece of invention and are keen to utilise it for our local FoGN event, scheduled for Oct 28.

Any real complaints are mainly minor and to do with the wording of some of the elements of play. But, more importantly, we are keen for another round of a revitalised FoGN. Cheers.

 


 

25 March 2017

Looking forward to tonight’s game with my gaming buddy Simon. I enjoy his intelligent conversations regarding our mutual love of the Napoleonic period. Tonight it will be a 650 point game at my place using the Setting Up a Points Based Game component. It looks really interesting and has revived interest in generating scenarios for the upcoming HX event in October. I have an idea, or two, that could easily cater to this novel setup approach.

Playing Russians for tonight. Hopefully they stand a chance against Simon’s dastardly French, and even notorious shock heavy cavalry (cuirassiers). My list includes both Cossacks and Opolchenie (only one unit) which are, by reputation, of dubious battlefield us. The rest of my list are regulars of varying quality  but should stand fast against these garlic-chomping snail-sucking heretics! 🙂

Still finding issues with the rules, but it’s mostly minor and interpretation related so have no impact on my overall impression that this rewrite is what the FoGN scene has been waiting for a long time. Great job too by both Richard and Brett, the main two guys taking on this unenviable task with real gusto.

I really should read more too. Usual batrep to follow. Very keen to see how the 2 hour/650 pts format pans out. Really hoping it works great but who knows.

thMN2A3W5B


FoGN v2 (draft)

Reading through the new draft version, I am initially impressed that the layout now follows a more sensible progression that is straightforward and less “page flicking”. The original core set suffered from being the frustration disease giving the impression it was hobbled together at the eleventh hour.

Rather than pester the main discussion over on the Slitherine forum site, I figured to air my own questions here; at least, it won’t be festering around in my head. Need a clear head to play a living opponent sometimes. 🙂

  • Artillery. Only allowed to field a max of 1/2 units in the one division. Wording had me conflubbered as I thought it meant the entire list composition was 1 or 2 such units and only in one division. My bad. Didn’t read it properly.
  • Troops assaulting. Can only occur if no intervening friendlies in the way. Wording of this ruling left me confused. Again, it’s my bad for not reading properly.
  • Wheeling during an Assault. The wording of this had me taking several re-reads: “They may not wheel to place less of the target to their front or past the point at which the centre of the target’s nearest edge is directly ahead of the centre of their own unit”. WTF.
  • Responses to Assault. Again, phrasing needs rewording: “Unless the unit breaks as a result of this test, the desired response still takes place, however, if the test is failed, the unit will drop a cohesion level”. Not a biggie but it shows how awkward it can get to articulate anyfink.
  • Irregular Light Infantry. Again, pursuant to the above point, these guys panic easily and therefore can only respond coherently when they’re about to die. The ban on formation change only highlights the shock of suddenly being attacked.
  • Irregular Light Cavalry. Word out of place in a phrase? Shouldn’t it be “and” rather than “or” as the heading defines the subject.
  • Infantry defending a building. Can fire defensively at ALL enemy units but an occupying unit can’t. Huh?
  • Second Moves. Forgotten about this. Only happens whenever outside 6MU of any enemy unit.
  • General Movement Rules. Phrase has me confused a little: “…measuring each corner of the unit to be moved…” So, if measuring a corner yields an obstacle or contact, nothing happens?
  • Wording on the ruling about Brigade Group movement being over….yada yada yada.

Got this far before putting the booklet down. Can’t stay interested for long at times. Cheers.


23 March 2017

A gaming buddy sent through a text the other day asking if I was prepared to open up the upcoming FoGN tourney to other scales. My reply was basically “It’s a good idea but one that hasn’t worked out all that well in the past”. Which is true. I recall the first event where I had two scales running at the event (I know but I ever naïve and ever hopeful it might work). Well, came the night before and I had a fair number in one scale opt out leaving me with no choice but to remove that scale and go with the one remaining. It was very embarrassing for me because I had somehow thought others would follow through on their promise of interest and I’d be one of the lucky few to hold a tournament with two separate scales running simultaneously.

Anyway, that text revived that bad memory. I’m happy for there to be a real discussion for including a second scale. However I’ve remained unconvinced that it’s a viable option: unless you have forty or fifty happening, then perhaps. But a small event (with less than a dozen attendees) just can’t entertain a suggestion. And I’ve learned that one scale per event is the standard format; it worked well enough at the second HistorX event and I see why it shouldn’t be successful this time round.

I know 28mm is extremely popular both tabletop and tournament-scene. So too is 15/18mm. But when I floated the idea of a third HistorX event, I was dead set on it being 20mm, because it’s both the scale of personal choice and because I know many in my immediate gaming orbit field 20mm armies because they are cheap to assemble. As I told my gaming buddy, 20mm is just as attractive as the more popular 15mm and 28mm when painted up; you just have to squint harder, is all.

It’s a frustrating concern that putting it out there to the wider gaming community, and seeking a response from those interested in attending, that there has been a serious lack of interest or reply. This is my third such tournament and, by now, I’ve learned the hard lesson that you just have to set it up and ignore the silence.

It reminds me of that children’s tale of the mother hen who found some grains of wheat and ended up making bread from that wheat on her own. But all through the process from wheat grain to baked loaf, she kept asking for help and assistance, but none was forthcoming. That is, until the bread was made and she was ready to eat the loaf. Then did they come pouring out of the shadows and woodwork all demanding a piece.

I like FoGN. But my continued involvement in it over the years has always been as an interested participant that was not totally sold on the notion of a corps-level game that had global appeal. But that has gradually changed through the awareness that FoGN is indeed quite global; you only have to visit the Slitherine forums to see that FoGN has worldwide appeal and dedicated adherents.

Moreover, this growing awareness also has been influenced by the appreciation that this ruleset is perhaps the first time where I’ve being aware that this game addresses a higher-level command need. This idea of a Corps-level game has been a constant struggle for me when I first got involved primarily because my mindset had always been fixed at the lower-level, i.e., brigade/regimental/battalion mode of gaming.  Whenever I used to see a FoGN infantry stand of four bases, I did not see a demi-brigade/brigade that it was meant to represent but a battalion or a regiment.

Why that persisted no doubt has to do with not fully committing myself to learning the game properly. I admit I had my prejudices, my biases, my opinions also impeded acceptance of the game system on its own merits.

But it’s slowly changing. It’s not just the game itself that’s causing this change in attitude: the associations made through the game – the tournaments, the meeting of other gamers, the exchange of ideas and interpretations – contribute to the growing awareness. The game itself has taken a back seat to the overall impact felt through these interactions and contacts made when meeting others.

FoGN v2, for now, will have to do for the time being until something better comes along.


22 March 2017

Got a FoGN game this Saturday evening. 2 hour timed game. 650 points. I know my mate runs a very strong French list. Memories of getting hammered by his shock heavy cavalry still haunt me. That, and having to deal with his hordes of infantry and gargantuan gun line…

Hang on, I was dreaming. Actually, his cuirassiers were a constant thorn in our previous encounters, often threatening to roll my entire line as they pounced and smashed their way through my weak cavalry.

Not wanting to play French on French, I’ve decided to go Russian this time. After reading the basic requirements in Triumph of Nations, J have come up with an initial draft.

What I do remember from the current v2 draft is that all artillery must be sited within one division and not spread around. However, there are exceptions, as in Cavalry divisions may include at least one Horse artillery battery.

Having re-read some of the rules regarding composition, I will have to tweak my force again but at least the 650 point allocation has been reached.

Russian Infantry Corps 650 points FoGN v2 option 2

I call this list my drinking to good health list. 🙂


18 March 2017

Received the latest draft version of the updated FoGN for playtesting and contributing to the general FoGN community. This is version 2. Already impressed by the redesigned layout. I have passed on the version to one other from my local gaming group, who initially asked if I could obtain a copy. Luckily the guys redesigning the update were amenable to my request. It’s very likely the event in October will feature v2.


12 March 2017

A great day of gaming. Company was really fun today. First game was a continuation of the modified FoGN format we’re going to use for HistorX III in October. Angus brought along his wonderfully entertaining Swedish. I fielded a mixed force of French-Wurttemburg. Points was 650. Table was 6′ x 4′. Terrain was simple and perhaps redundant as it was a straight slugfest.

Deployment:

Swedes won the right to deploy first and therefore moved first.

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Turn One:

Swedes march forwards, wanting to contest the crossings, as do the Allied force. Who will get there first?

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The French-Wurttemburg force respond:

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Turn Two

The Swedes, who are all unreformed, are hampered by their slow movement rate. Still, they plough on regardless.

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The French cavalry are able to reach their crossing and “scare” away the enemy lights. But on the other flank, everything is happening very slowly being still a move of manoeuvre.

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Turn Three

On one flank the Swedes are preparing for a charge while on the other, it’s still a two-way jostling.

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The French throw a clove of garlic in the works however…

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Turn Four

The Swedes are unable to contain the enemy. Can they survive?

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The French cavalry have gained the crossing and are now running riot among the surprised Swedish infantry.

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Game Over….

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Summary

2 hours is doable with 650 points. We did take too long in setting up and then reacquainting ourselves within the first two moves of all the intricacies involved. But as the game wore on, and we settled down, we started shortening turn times so that the last three moves took just one hour.

But we didn’t really get to grips as we might have liked. That comes back to familiarity with the rules and game pressures.

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to “getting better” at this game. Next report at Glynn’s place. Cheers.


Star Wars X Wing

Before someone claims this is not historical, let me say (once more) the blurb of the Star Wars movie franchise: “Long ago, in a galaxy far far away…”

Now that any disputes are settled, straight after the FoGN game, Glynn and myself had a quick game of X Wing. 100 points. I ran my Y wing list from a couple of previous games ago while Glynn ran a Disruptor-centred list.

Initially, I was antsy because I found I had forgotten a large part of the game mechanics and rules. But after a couple of turns, and I had my baby whinge, things settled down and we had an extremely funny and entertaining game.

Before the pics are posted, the outcome was Glynn destroyed 1 X Wing (Luke Skywalker) and 1 Y Wing (Horton Salm). Both are rated 8. What was left was my A Wing (Tycho Celchu) and a Gold Sqn pilot (rated 2).

The Ion Cannon provided a hilarious moment when my Gold sqn pilot battled the only Scum Y wing who also had an Ion cannon. So it was move, Ion cannon, drift, restore, move, Ion cannon, drift. It went like for a few turns until eventually my Gold sqn pilot prevailed. But it was a really hilarious moment for both Glynn and myself.

Picture Gallery

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Another extremely fun and challenging game. Initially, I was lost but then Glynn was patient enough to ease up a little before I got fully into the swing of things. Thereafter, it was as I adore about this game – fun, challenging, and never a dull moment. Cheers.


 

9 March 2017

Managed to put a basic colour scheme on the leaders and infantry. Now for the cavalry and artillery and attachments.


7 March 2017

Slowly getting there.


5 March 2017

Slow painting progress on this Wurttemburg list. Slightly amending my original intent by going with a combined Wurttemburg-French list. Not bothering dispensing with the FoGN list generator so I can run an entirely Wurttemburg corps. I don’t believe they had sufficient numbers anyway: they never fielded more than a division or two, if my memory serves me well, and they lost most of their manpower in the disastrous Russian misadventure as well.

So the French will be the reformed infantry units while the unreformed will be Wurttemburg. For the cavalry, one will be French (Hussars) while the other will be Wurttemburg Chevaux Léger. At least that’s the plan.

My 650-pt list:

Corps Commander (competent)

Division Commander (skilled)
Wurttemburg Light Infantry (reformed) – small, average drilled, w/offr
French Line Infantry (reformed) – small, average drilled w/cav
Wurttemburg Line Infantry (unreformed) – large average conscript w/arty
French Foot Artillery – large superior drilled

Division Commander (competent charismatic)
French Line Infantry (reformed) – small average drilled
Wurttemburg Line Infantry (unreformed) – large average conscript w/arty

Division Commander (competent)
French Hussars – small superior veteran w/offr
Wurttemburg Horse Jagers – small average veteran w/arty
Wurttemburg Horse Artillery – small average veteran w/skirmish

Have never played conscripts before so I will look forward to the new experience. I’ve tried to design a quick-hitting force that will probably get smashed by the Major Powers of the times but fare reasonably well against the minor nations. It’s fine though as I really like playing a bit off-centre with my Napoleonic armies anyway, preferring to avoid the main players, like France or the English. Cheers.


4 March 2017

So I’m putting together a Wurttemburg list for the game next weekend. Finding the unreformed and reformed element of the list generator annoyingly inaccurate: the Wurttemburgers were close allies of the French between 1805 and 1814 so would have been thoroughly exposed to the initiatives the French military were innovating at the time, unlike the Austro-Hungarians, and other similar nations, who persisted with being unreformed for a long while still.

Anyway, the list I’ve generated has one of the units as unreformed while another is reformed. Maybe I’m jumping the gun a bit but I can’t see how one part of these Germans fought like the French while the other part didn’t. While I’m wrestling with this problem, I’ve initially decided to make it a French-Wurttemburg force — to comply with the restrictions generated. It’s an amenable solution while also a suitable trial option; if they perform well, I will stick with it, otherwise will make further changes to at least make this list playable.

I still haven’t settled on a force I will be playing at the HistorX III event yet; these Wurttemburgers are one of several options I’m looking at.

Scoring list: I’ve decided to trial a more simplified scoring system for the upcoming FoGN event. I know they have a system already in place and one that seems to meet with approval from the vast majority. But I found that it doesn’t give an accurate result, especially in games that are played and acknowledged as being real “close affairs” for both players but which the score will say something else altogether. Example: played an opponent at an earlier FoGN event. The game was relatively close but the score showed a 25-0 result. Looking at that score, that’s a whipping, no?

I’ve had the complaint aired a few times from other members of the historical gaming circle who’ve played FoGN.

The FoGN rulesbook makes mention there are several ways to score a FoGN. Taking that comment as permission to explore other scoring options, I’m working on a more simplified and yet equitable results indicator. Trialling a draft version next weekend just to see how it fares. Cheers.

obelisk-and-20mm-figures

Elements of the French component of my Wurttemburg list being built. They are protecting the 3D-printed obelisk. Good models…. 🙂


12 February 2017

I forgot to mention that within our gaming group there is another Nap ruleset that’s establishing itself through one of our regulars. Grand Battles is fairly new and heavily being promoted locally. Devised by one of the people at Siege Works Studios, a Brisbane-based company, it seems to be another “new release” crowding an already crowded gaming market. Gamers are no doubt becoming more selective in what they want from games. And publishers of rules are doing their best to entice gamers to their system.

The guy who is heavily promoting the rules within our group has been asked to revise the Spanish section given it’s his area of expertise.


11 February 2017

Had a enjoyable day beside the seaside. Played over at Bryce’s home at Margate. My game with Angus of FoGN was memorable for a couple of highlights:

  • Lacking match practice, this game took quite a while to register for both of us. By the time it did, it was time to pack up and head wearily home. We do plan to make these games a regular occurrence though.
  • Because of the long day, it only confirmed my decision to run a 650 point list for the upcoming event. But we plan to make some modifications to those recommended lists in Triumph of Nations and Emperors and Eagles that we feel are inaccurate.
  • The scoring system needs to be more reflective of how close a match actually was. Ever read a historical account of a battle you’ve never heard of only to discover the outcome never tells the full story. We’ll sort something out over the time.

There were other games played today: Star Wars X Wing and Rapid Fire II. Cheers.


10 February 2017

In two minds with this ruleset (FoGN). In the past I have invested a lot of time into FoGN that has left me extremely frustrated by the time delay in publishing FoGN 2, the long-awaited upgrade. I even went as far as shedding myself of further involvement. However, once I had my gripe, I decided to give it just one more go although I really don’t see that involvement lasting all that long given my tendency to flit from project to project. Like a dandelion drifting on the warm air currents as a butterfly. 🙂

Tomorrow, however, I have a game of 800 points with a relatively new fan to FoGN. Having last played this in October 2015, I reckon I will struggle as much as my opponent because I have forgotten so much. So I expect I will spend a lot of time just figuring out how to play the game again which might lead to a frustratingly long day. Games of FoGN generally run into the three hour mark which is ludicrous when you consider you could have several games of X Wing in the same time. And there’s always a feeling of relief once a game of FoGN is over (so it looks that way to me at least); it can be likened to watching test cricket on tv without any beer or snacks. 🙂

Anyway, I’m running one of my favourite “minor” players from that period – my Bavarians.

1st-div

One of the weak points about running a Bavarian list is their cavalry and lack of any elites. They don’t have the shock value of the French Cuirassiers. Plus there just isn’t enough of them. I’ve therefore gone for the maximum four divisional type formations: 2 infantry, 1 cavalry and 1 mixed.

2nd-div

Large infantry units are handy for absorbing fire and then adding a bit of “oomph” in their engagements when they do finally make contact. The cavalry attachment is handy for shooting and assaults. The brigade commander in the mixed division allows for independent action outside of the divisional commander’s command radius.

The Bavarians historically were 2nd-class compared to the major players and some of the other lesser powers, such as Saxony whose cavalry was very good for a while. Of course, the French are the yardstick when it comes to comparing quality and performance; the Bavarians were useful allies but not entrusted with important missions. Mind you, they were long-time allies until 1813 when they finally and reluctantly joined the rest of Europe against Napoleon. By that time, too, they were a veteran force — still not first-class like their French, Russian or Prussian counterparts. And they somehow managed to survive the war without being punished too harshly for siding with the Corsican adventurer for a good number of years.

3rd-div

My opponent is running a Swedish-Finnish list which I’ve never heard of or encountered before. I do so love how some gamers are willing to embrace the lesser states of the period. After playing French or Russians so many times, it’s fairly safe to assume how my Bavarians will generally fare against these powerhouses of the period.

4th-div

I do have other lists either completed or in varying stages of completion. In no particular order, I have an 1809 Austro-Hungarian (originally for a proposed but never actioned Danube campaign), an 1805 Russian (Austerlitz period), and more than enough for two complete 1812 Russian corps lists (with one being all-Guards). On the workbench, I have started on an 1809  French (possibly Davout’s Corps), an 1810 British/Spanish/Portugese list (not yet fashioned on a personality yet) and an 1812 Neapolitan/Italian Corps.

All 20mm plastic.

It may be that the word Corps is misleading and should really be called Division. It’s fortunate that I do have enough minis to create these Corps based on their nationality alone if need be, but I am also happy to just form single divisions from favourite periods.

I haven’t delved too deeply into the mire that is the current FoGN core rule set while the two subsequent period volumes Triumph of Nations and Emperors and Eagles are simply recommended listing for individual nations at certain times.

The basic main gripe I have with the FoGN rulebook is that it feels like some patchwork of jumbled afterthoughts. You’re constantly flipping from one section to another and then another just for clarification on one issue! There is no coherent logical sequence that makes reading simple yet easy. There are elements throughout that can easily lead to varying individual interpretations. In plain, the design of the book leaves a lot to be desired.

FoGN 2 is supposed to fix this. And it’s meant to “fine-tune” some of the more technical elements within the rules themselves so that it results in a more enjoyable game.

I have said it often and that opinion still hasn’t changed that FoGN is one of the better corps-level games on the market. FoGN is also very well suited to tournament-level gaming. The only problem might be they need to somehow revamp the scoring to reflect the quality of the match.

In the last tournament I played, I came close to defeating my opponent (who eventually went on to win the event) but because the scoring doesn’t take into account “the closeness of the game”, I ended up losing 0-25 (a game is scored out of 25 – lots of tables and numbers). Yet, the loss wasn’t a tabling in normal sense of the term; I just ran out of time and manpower to achieve my goal by game’s end. Even he admitted it was a close game. Yet the score said it all: it might look like I was given a hiding yet it wasn’t. I never felt demoralised as I might normally feel when being table-smacked (as when I used to play Warhammer Fantasy).

It may have to do with the fact I connect more with Napoleonics than I do with Fantasy because I have a long familiarity with the former period than the latter universe. Anyway, if they fix up the scoring system to make it less severe than it currently is, that’ll be one less complaint to deal with.

If FoGN is to division/corps level gaming as AWRG is to brigade/division, then DBN (De Bellis Napoleonicis) is the next level up being corps/army level friendly. Whereas FoGN requires a lot of time, money, minis, involvement, DBN is your version of a beer-and-pretzel night but with that sense of satisfaction in knowing once again you’ve saved the known world from that tyrant Napoleonic. Or, if you’re a Francophile, you’ve advanced the glory of L’Empereur to the greater masses of ignoramuses and incompetents. FoGN can be quite intense and serious most times, but DBN is strictly fun yet engaging without leaving you feeling like you should be somewhere else right at that particular moment.

The main reason, so I’m speculating, for this is that with DBN you only require a few models. If you’re like me, I actually painted the bases of my “army list” in a distinctive colour, such as my British/Highlander army which have a light blue base; my Austro-Hungarian list is yellow (of course), my Russians are purple and my French bases are red (nice contrast to their predominantly French blue uniforms).

I do so like DBN but rarely get to play it these days. If a game becomes overly complicated in its gaming mechanism, or the rules are so overpowering as to make the experience a fairly trying one, then it’s not really a game. I keep thinking how all the great sports are so easy to learn. Chess is perhaps the best example of how a game should be. The moves are simple to learn. But what you do after that is up to you. Somehow, I just can’t seem to see that with FoGN, or most Nap games to be honest. Hence why I like DBN out of the three rules I play in the period. Maybe it’s because it’s akin to how abstract a level chess is but which something like FoGN is not.

I won’t say much on AWRG other than to say it’s offers better options for resolving issues raised that FoGN tends to ignore or fails to fix, such as pretty much everything! But AWRG is such a localised content that its wider appeal is limited. It seems a case of some local lads taking the initiative and making their own improvements to an already existing system that work without too much fuss or interference both internally and without.

With FoGN, because the market is much wider (i.e. global) that initiative seems hindered and delayed. Even the two lads currently headlining the improvements to FoGN 2 (Richard from Melbourne and Brett from Auckland) seem caught up in the machinations of the powers-that-be that control the fate of FoGN from a business perspective. The lengthy delays in getting the green light to actually make the long-anticipated improvements has only added to seeming frustration felt by many. But everything seems to finally moving along nicely, and we can only pray that FoGN 2 will finally see light of day some time soon in mid-2017.

AWRG is a game that initially excited me but little has come of it since the guy who tutored me is no longer a part of my immediate gaming circle. Interest waned quickly and I moved on to other systems.

 

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Author: b20f08

I enjoy solo wargaming and writing. The first caters to the boy that never grew up; the latter satisfies a deep desire to communicate. Cheers.

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