Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BEAUTIFUL guest shots at the House of War!

I just got back from a good friend's house. He is the owner of a massive collection of beautiful toy soldiers, including 25mm ACW, AWI, WWII, Navy, and Warhammer collections, and 15mm ACW, WWII, and Napoleonic collections.

Not only that, but he has dozens and dozens of antique firearms, uniforms, medical kits, and other fantastic collectibles.

He just moved into a house and is planning to have a House of War that makes my own House of War rather pitiful looking. It will be a few months until everything is ready, but for now, I thought I would show some shots of his current 25mm ACW collection, mainly his 25mm Federals. Please note; there is an entire closet of men equal to this number that are not featured:)


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

10mm Napoleonic Rules Playtest Part 2

Let the firing commence!

In the fifth turn the French seized the initiative and plowed forward. All of the French commanders advanced their men as ordered. Lafleur brought his brigade forward, intent on bringing them through the woods to hit the defending British in the flank, while Colonel Ducot advanced the Imperial Guard, scattering the greenjackets back to their regiments. Meanwhile
Colonel Lerout charged his men over the walls, knowing that to stay behind the walls and deploy their own skirmishers might be dangerous, and the British rifles had excellent range and could certainly throw them into disarray as they held, out of range...

The British suffered a major setback. Unreliable the entire time, Colonel Kryzeski again ordered his columns to halt and, seeing the French rushing to the attack and hearing the crackle of musketfire ahead, decided to redeploy backwards. Furious, Picton galloped back to get the Allied commander under control, leaving Colonel Smith in the center to form into line to recieve the charge of the Guard. Meanwhile Colonel Sharpe, seeing the French erupt from the forest and from behind the walls behind him and coming downhill at his men with bayonets fixed, ordered his men to fire! The British muskets roared, killing Frenchmen in their tracks. The flank regiment of infantry took serious casualties but the rest got off relatively light, considering the long lines of red facing them... coming downhill helped, as the British tended to fire high.

This left three brigades in need of taking "Stand!" tests. All of Colonel Sharpe's British troops passed, although there was a little panic evident as the French columns crested the rise in front of them... the Colonel's quality and leadership was all that kept one unit from becoming Shaken. Of the French, Colonel Ducot's Imperial Guard stayed steady, having run off the majority of the enemy rifles, but a single battalion of Colonel Lerout's attack faltered as it barrelled down the hill, men falling and others beginning to edge back (Shaken units are shown by turning one of the two battalion stands backwards to represent men at the rear beginning to turn)... if only the French could make contact with the thin British lines and see them off!

Turn Six saw the French crash home. Most of the brigade commanders followed their orders properly and the two forces came together. The British lines fired volley after volley into the attacking French columns, killing scores of blue coated infantry, but the French, who had advanced this far without being shaken, pressed the attack home!

On the British left the French columns rolled down the hill and into the thin red lines. Bayonets stabbed, Highlanders swung their gigantic claymores, men clawed and spit and cursed... on the far flank, Colonel Lerout and Colonel Sharpe, the two most capable brigade commanders on the field, urged their men on, Sharpe joining the Scots in the fight. In the center three French brigades crashed home, including the Converged Grenadier Battalion, which took minimal casualties and rolled down the hill into the British lines like a lightning bolt.

The British for the most part held on. In the center, however, a piece of the British line gave way, taking horrible casualties while being overrun by twice their numbers of Frenchmen in deep, unstoppable columns. When the time for "Stand!" tests came, that unit predictably failed and became Shaken far behind the lines where they had run to... not a good sign. The rest of the British held on, however, and one of the French battalions, already Shaken the turn before by the heavy British musketfire, broke and ran from the field, while the Converged Grenadier Battalion also began to edge backwards as musketfire raked its flank...

In the center, drums beating and sergeants screaming, the Old Guard marched up the hill into the British lines. The British, firing downhill, were surprisingly ineffective, managing to kill some Guardsmen but unable to stop them. In turn the deep Guard columns crashed into the British like a wave. In the woods the flanking battalions of each brigade locked bayonets and hacked at each other mercilessly, each trying to throw the enemy back. One British battalion, assailed by two French columns, fell back, leaving a carpet of red bodies, and promptly failed its "Stand!" test, becoming unsteady, but the French Guard battalion attacking the crest began to waver as well and the rear ranks began to turn and run back down the hill, despite the fact that Colonel Ducot rode among them, shouting encouragement.

Meanwhile Colonel Lafleur held his men up, presumably to see where they would be needed, while Sir Thomas Picton rode back to his Allied Colonel and managed to get the coward to get his men up into column and moving again... but would they get to the center in time to help hold back the French? Or would the French Old Guard crest the hill and throw the British center back, taking the high ground and leaving Colonel Sharpe and his brigade out to dry... assuming they can even hold off the French columns!?

The next turn began. On the left, Colonel Sharpe's Brigade clashed again with Colonel Lerout. Both commanders, forceful and charismatic, were among the best either army had to offer, but one had to lose. And indeed, it seemed it would be the French, as the Highlanders countercharged into the flank of the French Converged Grenadier Battalion, which was already Shaken, and the British units in the center pushed back againt the attacking French columns. And the British began to inflict more casualties, with their flanks held by two Scottish battalions. The routing French infantry continued to run, and on the far flank the French infantry battalion, with Lerout screaming orders to his men, was nonetheless crushed backwards by the ferocious British counter-attack. Lerout had to let them go, hoping they would rally in the safety of the abandonded farmstead behind them, and galloped on, urging his remaining men to throw the British back while they had a chance...

The center swung back and forth. With Sir Thomas Picton looking on, the British center unleashed volleys of fire while they could, and then the Guard plunged forward. The battalion holding the road fell back like the one to their left did in the last turn, unable to hold the Guard back, and took casualties as the Guardsmen hacked and lunged with their bayonets. Importantly, however, the British battalions on the left flank on the hill and the right flank in the woods managed to hold, and then came the all-important "Stand!" tests... and finally the fact that the attacking Guard battalions had taken taken fire, first from the skirmishers and then from the British lines, began to pay off as 3 of their 4 Steady Guard battalions failed their "Stand!" rolls and became Shaken. The British had been forced back in the center and had taken casualties, and Colonel Lafleur was about to crash into their flank, but the Guard brigade was beginning to falter up and down the line... if only Colonel Sharpe could finish off his flank and bring his men up in support, if only the damned Colonel Kryzeski could bring up his brigade, and if only Colonel Smith's men could hold on for a few more turns...

Monday, April 27, 2009

First 10mm Napoleonic playtest...

Just thought I would post a few photos of the first turn or two!

The French
and British are advancing towards each other. The British, under Division Comander Picton, have three brigades. On their left is Colonel Sharpe, a very able commander whose brigade includes two battalions of Scottish infantry. In the center is Colonel Smith. And on the British right is an Allied brigade that is quite large, but suffers from poor leadership under Colonel Krzyski. The French also have three brigades, under Division Commander Ney. On their left is Colonel Lafleur, in the center is Colonel Ducot with the Guard, and on their right the aggressive young Colonel Lerout. While none of their divisions are quite as large as the British Allies, they do have one brigade of Old Guard, who should fight bravely!

In the first turn (sorry I didn't take photos of deployment) the two British infantry brigades advanced, while the Allied brigade, under Colonel Krzyski, moved laterally, taking the chateau that Picton hopes will help secure the British right flank. The French have largely advanced, bringing their far left brigade closer to the Division commander. Only Lerout's brigade, on the French right, failed to receive (or understand, maybe) their orders, but Lerout is an aggressive man and so brought his men forward nonetheless. The Division commanders for both sides are trying to stay centralized, hoping that their farthest brigades manage without direct supervision.

The next turn was a mess for both sides! With no cavalry scouts on the field, clearly the officers were confused about their orders, as no fewer than four brigade commanders failed to understand their orders, a rare occurrence!

The Allied brigade under Colonel Krzyski (a timid man to say the least) stalled as the troops got in each others way and the Colonel tried to decide where his men were needed... thankfully, at least, they occupied the chateau. In the center Colonel Smith, growing nervous at seeing the Guard on the road ahead of him, ignored his orders to advance and instead threw his brigade into line. Colonel Sharpe, the most able British commander, pushed his men forward as ordered.

The biggest disaster took place on the French left, as Colonel Lafleur, despite being practically within shouting distance of his division commander, promptly turned his men and marched backwards, presumably because he thought he saw cavalry in the dead ground ahead! The Guard, under Colonel Ducot, stalled in the center, and only Colonel Lerout pressed his brigade forward.

Thankfully, the Division commanders got most of their men back under control as turn 3 arrived, but not all of them!

Both redcoat brigades surged forward, with Smith in the center moving his columns to the high ground, preparing to fire down on the approaching French Guard. On the British left, Colonel Sharpe advanced his men as well, getting closer to the walls around the farm compound. However Colonel Krzyski of the Allied Brigade, far from Division Commander Picton, either could not understand his orders or, possibly, began to think that discresion was the better part, and the Allied Brigade began to "redeploy" backwards! Picton quickly send an aide to yell in Polish at Colonel Kryzski, hoping it would help.

The French suffered from some mis-communication of their own. While Colonel Lafleur finally understood where Marshal Ney wanted his men and began to bring them up, Colonel Ducot, commander of the Guard, halted his men as he thought he saw British cavalry lurking in the woods, and his men formed square! Colonel Lerout continued his relentless advance... he is an aggressive man as it is, so even operating far from his Division commander he can be counted to push the attack!

By turn four both sides were beginning to merge towards the center and Picton and Ney were careful to explain, in writing, EXACTLY what they wanted from their brigade commanders... and largely, they understood.

First, Sir Thomas Picton's aide finally was able to get Colonel Kryzski's brigade moving in the correct direction, marching up the road past the chateau, as it was clear that the two leftmost French brigades were headed towards Colonel Smith's brigade in the center. Both Colonel Smith and Colonel Sharpe, practically within shouting range of their Divisional Commander, chose to deploy skirmishers... they trusted their rifles to sow confusion in the imminent French attack.

At the same time Colonel Ducot of the Imperial Guard, realizing that the enemy in the woods before him wore red and green jackets and did NOT ride horses, formed his men into column to prepare to attack up the hill... firing uphill can be a chore, and with the British greenjackets already firing at the officers, Ducot figured it would be better to have his elite troops simply fix bayonets, form columns, and go up the hill before the British could deploy into line and really pour on the fire! Meanwhile Lerout continued his attack, perhaps even pushing a bit too far, as his men reached the walls and edges of the woods and promptly came under fire from the British skirmishers. Finally Colonel Lafleur brough his men up, intent on hitting the British center along with the Guard, and close enough that Division Commander Ney could keep a close eye on the attack!

With the British rifles in range, both Ducot's brigade and Lerout's brigade had to take "Stand!" tests, but all of their battalions passed, as they benefited from being in column, and from being elite (in the case of the Guard) and largely behind cover (in the case of Lerout.)

So... that is Turns 1 through 4! I'll get the next few turns up as soon as I play them! Overall I am happy with the way the rules seem to play... there was a RASH of 1s rolled in the second turn, which tended to mix things up a bit, but I DO like that you are not always sure what the commanders will do. Skirmishing seems to work well, as it isn't so much about killing guys as it is picking at their morale... we'll see how combat works soon enough!

25mm Nap. Russians - Artillery 1

Two posts in one day! Sacre bleu!

I wasn't planning on doing two posts today, but I looked and I realized that ALL of April was spent on 10mm Napoleonics! So I thought I would take a break and put up some more 25mm Napoleonics!

Here is another part of my Russian Napoleonic army... namely, the first battery of artillery.

It consists of three artillery pieces, each with four crew. Like the rest of my 25mm collection, the guns and troops are mounted on scenic bases. I painted the guys a bit dirty and sweaty, purposely going just a touch sloppy and heavy on the darker shades on their skin.

Of course, like all of my artillery the Russians are supported. First off, each of the guns has its own limber to move it into and out of harms way. Each battery also has a supply wagon. Rather than go with a caisson as might be more appropriate, I wanted my Russians to have a little bit of a rag-tag look, and so thought I would replace the traditional caisson with a farm wagon laden with supplies, clearly requisitioned from a farmer as the army moved through!

Artillery and crew by Foundry, and support by Old Glory.

10mm Napoleonic rules...

Hello all! I am sorry things at the House of War have been slow recently... I've hit a serious painting rut (again) plus my 10mm Napoleonic rules are proving harder than expected to finish!

So... I am working mainly on the infantry rules. Infantry will be deployed in brigades, each with a commander. Commanders will be rated in a few different ways: First, either as aggressive, balanced, or defensive. Second, by "quality," from a +2 to a -2.

Each brigade will consist of a varied number of battalions and a brigade commander. Each battalion consists of two stands of infantry, as pictured to the right with a French line battalion. Battalions within a brigade must keep within 2 inches of each other, and the brigade commander must be within 2 inches of a battalion at all times.

Brigades (see the left for a British brigade) are commanded by division commanders. Division commanders issue orders. Depending on how far away their brigade commanders are and if there are other factors, the orders may be received and followed. If no orders are followed, brigade commanders roll randomly for what they do, modified by their personalities. Brigades can have a few different orders given to them. They can...
* Fall Back (a quick move back with no firing allowed)

* Hold (includes Change Formation, Deploy/Return Skirmishers and Form Square)

* Attack (advancing and firing)

* Charge (a fast advance into close combat with no firing)

Shooting is fairly simple, with a single roll made (modified by a few things, such as formation.) Generally a battalion will cause between 0 and 1 casualties, with chances slender to cause more than that. Range is 6 inches max, with 3 being nice and close.
Close combat is similar, with advantages for being in column and a few other important bits.

Battalions can take anywhere from 1 to 4 damage total, maxing at 4.
Battalion casualties are not removed from the table... after all, we like looking at our toy soldiers, so why take some off? Plus at this scale, it seems silly. The more casualties a battalion takes, the more likely it is to fail its "Steady!" tests, becoming Shaken and then Broken.

The key is keeping battalions Steady. Once a battalion in a brigade is engaged, then each battalion in the entire brigade must check at the end of each turn to ensure it stays steady in a "Steady!" test. There is a small chance (depending on quality of troops, formations, nearness of officers, casualties...) that a unit failing a "Steady!" test can become "Shaken," meaning that the men are starting to get nervous and look behind them. If they fail another check, Shaken battalions are then "Broken," falling apart and routing. Having friends fail Steady tests around you, being more than 2 inches from friends, being out on a flank, having enemies attacking your flank, or taking casualties make it more likely that battalions will fail their tests... being among other friendly troops, having quality soldiers, having your men in nice deep formations, and having your brigade commander nearby (double bonus if he is a quality officer!) helps to keep your mean steady and ready to fight.

To the right is a shot of a French brigade (made of four battalions) attacking a British brigade (consisting of three battalions.) The French are in column, which will help their ability to stay Steady as they march into the British guns, and have made sure that their brigade commander is near a flank, which will help keep the wings of the attack steady. The British are in line to maximize their firepower, with one flank held by Highlanders and the other being personally commanded by their brigade commander, which will help the British force pass their "Steady!" tests, especially on their vulnerable flanks. Both sides have skirmishers deployed in an attempt to shake their enemies up a bit before the fight starts.

Speaking of skirmishers, representing skirmishing in a pleasing way has been a big challenge, but I am honing in on a good set of rules. Brigades can put out skirmishers with "Hold" orders. A single stand of skirmishers is put out for every battalions. Skirmishers don't cause casualties and cannot be engaged. Instead, when an enemy battalion gets within 6-9 inches of them, the enemy Brigade is counted as Engaged and therefore has to start taking "Steady!" tests. This results in brigades slowing down and men losing morale, representing the sniping of officers as the skirmishers pour on fire. The most effective counter is to deploy skirmishers as well, which will result in a little skirmisher-vs-skirmisher roll-off when they get into range of each other. The winner's skirmishers take the field, forcing the others off, and force the loser's parent brigade to begin to take "Steady!" tests. It is all about keeping your men Steady! To the above left is a shot of a French brigade (including a converged grenadier battalion) advancing with their skirmishers deployed.

So... that is basically it. I'll get into some of the other details later... I plan to do some playtesting this week (I have a week off from work) and I'll post some photos as I go.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Coming soon... my first 10mm Napoleonic game

Hey all!

Sorry it has been a while... but I finally cleaned off the 10mm Napoleonics and reconstructed the table, and now I just need to finish up my 10mm Napoleonic rules and I'll get my first game going! Above you can see a shot of a playtest... and you can also see some shots of the newly designed table.

I also have a shots of the troops ready to be deployed to the battlefield.

Anyway, check back in a few days for more photos.

In the meantime, enjoy!