2017 ending 2018 coming!

 

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Swedish attack on Saxon defensive position (Baccus Miniatures) with seasonal flair. The Swedish tactics of just marching on with resolve and in silence and then throw their snowballs, or perhaps fire their muskets, at short distance followed by a full on charge is just about to be implemented.  The most important factor to the outcome is the morale and resolve of the Saxons who are desperately firing away at the Swedes – will they stand to the Swedish onslaught or shit themselves and run away?

A long one again, sorry…but a lot of pictures…

 I have been away on holiday in Sweden over Christmas with the family and the only miniatures related stuff I have been physically close to have been my copy of the Gaslands Rules. I have read them and they seem to be a lot of fun, but more about that later.

This is the second year end for the blog and I have yet again had a joyful hobby year.  My original idea was to do a blog about my preparations for my Saga Game(s) at Joy of Six in 2016, but then I never stopped.  I found that it gave me some kind of efficiency in a strange way and I seem to have been more productive and organised than I used to be as a direct consequence.  That original post on Saga in 6mm (link here) still gets some hits, but the most popular one from 2016 is the first blog on Sharp Practice in 6mm.

With the Saga game in 6mm I wanted to show that it is possible to take a “28mm game” and change the individual 28mm miniature on a 25mm circular base and replace this with a 25mm square base with 4 to 10 No. 6mm miniatures, keeping all measurement as they were and still have a good time.  The game was still played on a 3 by 4 table, just as recommended by the rules.

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Saga at Joy of Six 2016

Saga, as a game, worked anyway and playing it with 6mm miniatures gives a different feeling using individually based miniatures – I have tried both and I prefer the multiple based version.

The other approach I have taken with regards to 6mm is that you can take a game where 28mm miniatures (to take an example scale) are normally being used and half the measurement or use centimeters instead of inches.  In this case each 28mm miniature is replaced with an individually based 6mm miniature. I have done this and played Sharp Practice, Pikeman’s Lament, the Men Who Would be Kings and Dragons Rampant.  It works but it is more fiddly than 28mm, but this aspect can be mitigated somewhat if you use the (1-2-3) basing as suggested in the Pikeman’s Lament rules, if your game is about figure removal from units with non-individual figures – like the games mentioned above.  This method is best described by Michael Leck who came up with the idea on his blog page (see here).  A blog entry shows how I based my Colonial 6mm British (see here) using this approach (kind of!), pictures below.

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Each line a unit of 12 men. You loose one man you take away a single base, you loose one more (2 in total) you take away another single base, you loose another man (3 in total) you put the single base back and take away a base with two, and so on. Simple and I promise less fiddly and complicated than you are currently thinking.
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I only did 1 and 2 miniature bases for the Lancers (8 in each units) but it still works with the same principles as above.

Here is an example of a game we played this year on a 2 by 2 board (Pictures below, link to the write up and lots of pictures here) – you could carry the board under your arm and the terrain and the miniatures in a small little box. We had a jolly good time playing it.   Did I mention that it took me two short evenings to paint up each force used in the game!

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2 by 2 feet table
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Ottoman Cavalry charging the Russian Dragoons who were supposed to protect the wagons.  1-2-3 basing system in use (Baccus and Perfect Six)

Here is another one (with the write-up here), this time Ottomans vs Swedes.

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As for the most popular post in 2017 it is more difficult to say and perhaps unfair to compare as some of the posts, by the nature of weekly postings, have been on longer than others. However, the first blog on Colonial 6mm using The Men Who Would be Kings rules (link above) seem to have got some wider interest and so have the other postings covering Dan Mersey’s rules (Dragon’s Rampant and the Pikeman’s Lament rules he did with my friend Michael Leck) – they are all very similar with some notable variations in the Colonial set where there are commanders for each section as opposed to the overall force for the others and the damage is based on actual figure count – not a fixed full damage until half units are left going then down to half until wiped off the table, to mention a few of the more notable differences.  I refer to these as the “Mersey Skirmish Engine” (MSE).

On the whole we have really enjoyed these games and they fit us really well as the rules are simple but not simplistic – i.e. there is sufficient depth to make the decision making challenging and there is a high level of friction built-in the activation system.  I mainly game with the Little One who is celebrating his first double digit birthday next year so this simple but not simplistic factor is important to us.  The best children movies are the ones that contain some sneaky adult jokes – watch any Shreck movie and you get what I mean.  I find that the more complicated games looses the little ones interest quicker and in some cases never really captures him to start with.

The best games was when we were using my 6mm French Indian war models with the Pikeman’s Lament set, on that horrible “wargames mat” I bought in Rhodes on the family holiday. We played a fully functioning skirmish wargaming on what in fact was a doormat (some pictures here) and had some great fun in the sun.

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Gaming on the Doormat!

 

We also played some other games including the Terminator Game, Sharp Practice, Dreadball (a great late start!), X-wing, The Twilight of the Sun King, Road Wolf,  Maurice, to mention a few.  I also read and tested the new Basic Impetus rules and Sword and Spear and would like to try these a little bit more.  I also did two forces for 6mm sci-fi but I am yet to find a ruleset that inspires me.

 

I wanted to play Chain of Command with my Finns and Russian, but I failed miserably.

Anyway here are my key painting, modelling and gaming ambitions for this coming year.

Great Northern War – Twilight of the Sun King Rules (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 90%, Gaming 10%.

The 18th century in general and the Great Northern war in particular is one of my favourite historical settings and I am currently working on the Horka 1708 battle for Joy of Six in July 2018 (here is a link to some background to this).  This will be the biggest battle I have done to date and I am very excited about it and this is the kind of battle and set-up that really works with the 6mm scale and gives the look and the feeling of a real battle.

I would also like to do a smaller table to give the Düna crossing in 1701 a fair go with the Twilight of the Sun king Rules (see some discussion on the rules here).  I think the “did I hit?, did I damage?, did you have armour protection?, did you manage to save? – rolling sequence” is funny and engaging for a skirmish level rule-set but I am warming to the abstraction of the Twilight rules for BIG battles more and more for every time I play them (here is a note about the rules and where to find them). I have plenty of nice modelling and painting ahead of me for these projects.

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The field of Battle for Horka (link to it in the text above)
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Figuring out the battlefield for Horka

Winter War and Continuation War – Chain of Command Rules (15mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I re-read Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s account of the battle of Soumussalmi  (Wikipedia link here) over the Christmas break.  It is an inspirational account of how, in essence, three Finnish regiments defeated two Russian divisions and one tank brigade. Siilasvuo was one of the most successful Finnish Commanders during the war years.

The Battle at Raate had ended with a total defeat of the enemies 44th Divison, The objective given to my soldiers were completed. My men had, with commendable resilience fought for over a month in the harsh winter conditions at Soumussalmi.  In defiance of death they had attacked the superior enemy.  Their only guiding star was the precious, common fatherland, that fought for its existence.  The cost of the great victories was paid with the heroic deaths of many brave  warriors.  With sincerity they had given their life for the fatherland, their homes and their faith.  The white crosses on the graveyards where the signs of their sacrifice.  They showed the people the path to honour, a hard path, but the only path. 

Translated, hastily, from H.J. Siilasvous book “Striderna I Suomussalmi”

I also went to the Cinema in my Hometown in Sweden and watched the new film based on Väinö Linna’s book the Unknown Soldier about a Machine Gun Company during the Continuation war from the mobilisation in 1941 and the early successes to withdrawal and retreat leading up to the armistice in 1944 , I have read the book and seen previous iterations of the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The story is fictional but based on Linna’s experiences serving in the Infantry Regiment 8 during the war – it would make an interesting wargames campaign.

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Still from the Movie Tuntematon sotilas [Unknown Soldier] (2017). Vänrikki Kariluoto readying a grenade during some trench fighting and Corporal Rokka getting ready to charge in and clean the next stretch of trench with his Suomi KP/-31 Submachine Gun.  Corporal Rokka is a typical example of a Big Man and a Veteran of the Winter War.

 I have all I need for some Winter war action as I did a platoon of Finns and Russians last year.  Here are some links to those Platoons (see here and here) as well as some background you may find interesting.  I will not fail these platoons this year.  I hope the Little One is up for it too! Link to the eminent Chain of Command rules here.  I would also like to have a go at doing a winter wargames mat, as I have not yet found anything on offer that I especially like (I have an old mat but it could be better).  I also have some Russian Scouts and more than enough Finns in Summer Uniforms to do some continuation war stuff.

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Some of the Finns I prepared – an Engineering Section. The NCO is screaming – “Why the hell did you paint us and left us spend the whole year fully winter dressed in a box! Get your bloody act together!, or perhaps he is screaming Mitä helvettiä?, Levitä laardi! (What the hell?, spread the Lard!)

Punic Wars – Command and Colours Boardgame (6mm)

Painting/Modelling 70%, Gaming 30%.

I am going to do a modular board and the necessary miniatures using mdf hexagons and 6mm units based on 50 by 20mm bases.  I laid out the plans in a blog entry earlier in the year – here.  I am looking forward to doing this as I am a fan of the game and  I have wanted to do this since I read about Dan Becker’s project many years ago (see here) and got inspired from the game presented at Joy of Six this year.

Mutant 1984 – Mutants and Deathray Guns (28mm)

Painting/Modelling 50%, Gaming 50%.

I was going to do this project using (see more here) using the Scrappers rules but I have recently decided to try out the Ganesha games set called Mutants and Deathray Guns (link here).  I am keen that Rifleman Croc Lacoste gets some battle-hardening sooner rather than later, he has been waiting more than a while.

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Perry’s 95th Riflemen but not like you are used seeing them. Proud soldiers of the Pyri Commonwealth army, a mix of pure humans, mutants and mutated animals, on a rescue mission to a forbidden zone.  Crocodile head from the Crooked dice and high tech rifle from my old bit box (?).

 

I actually did some mean looking power armoured warriors (from Ion Age, IB52 Muster Female Squad, link here) when I got home yesterday evening as well as a gang of rats (conversions from the following miniatures – 3 of the bodies from Crooked dice here, 2 of the bodies from Moonraker miniatures – 0046 Scavenger. Handgun. Shotgun here, and 0074 SMG. Rasta here, the last body on the far left I do not remember, the heads and tails are from Giants rats, also from Moonraker, here).

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These Ladies would be part of a small security unit frozen in Cryonics freezers and woken up when the level of radiation had reached a survivable level. Now they have found a harsh and wild world, but they still have some powerful weapons, plenty of ammunition and their power packs are fully charged.
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In one of the classical adventures for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant that is the inspiration to this project, called Nekropolis, the PCs have an encounter with a group of rats.  This gang is my homage to those guys.

 

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The Original Picture from the scenario – Nekropolis, den Grå Döden Del 1, 1985, TAMB Äventyrspel AB

Gaslands (6mm) 

Painting/Modelling 30%, Gaming 70%.

This is the best thing that I have come across in 2017 and I read the rules over Christmas (link to the Gaslands page, here. Where you can get the rules and accessories).  This will be fun and I have more or less everything I need to get on with it (some notes here, here and here).  Being true to form I decided to do this in 6mm as I was aware of some nice looking models out there. However there are some considerations to make and I advice that you read my blog entries above, if you are considering doing this.

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50% movement templates with the 6mm cars.

In addition I may do the occasional game of Colonial skirmish, Dreadball, some Saga battles with the dark age stuff, French Indian war with SP2 or T&M, Maurice or Pikeman’s Lament with Swedes and Saxons, and I may even progress the Rommel stuff I started, but we will see. I am pretty sure it will be totally different at the end of the day/year but as long as I have fun it does not really matter.

I would also like to do some WW2 units to use for a Norwegian Campaign. I did a fair few a few years back but in a moment of stupidity let them go.

Some thanks and then I will let you go

I have done a fair number of hours at my painting and modelling desk this year, when I do this I tend to listen to podcasts and audiobooks – the following are the hobby related ones I have found especially inspirational this year and I am grateful they are doing what they do. Get some paint and click on the titles and go and listen, you may have a painted army standing before you after you finish! Thank you to all involved in the production of these.

Meeples and Miniatures – solid show, like a Volvo of the 240 series. Solid running top notch quality!

The Too Fat Lardies Oddcasts – effortless delivery of wargaming wisdom! Only 4 episodes so far but it feels like it has been around for ages.

Veteran Wargamer – excellent! Jay has definitely helped me make my gaming more fun!

WSS Podcast – at times feels like listening to one of those annuals I got as a kid, great stuff!

Wargames Recon – enthusiasm can go a long way, this one goes miles!

If I had one wish it would be that the Historical Wargames Podcast got on air again – I really enjoyed that show.  If I had another wish it would be great if there was a wargames podcast similar to the Grognard Files (a nostalgic throwback show to the RPGs of yesterdays) that reflected on some of the “dead” games out there.  The Veteran Wargamer, for example, had a show about games from beyond the grave (link here) and I think that one was a good start – look out for Jay’s comment on the game Chess.

Special thanks this year to the Little One who possibly prefers solo computerised quests as opposed to games with Dad using painted miniatures, but never fails to get stuck in and getting on with it.  At Joy of Six he ably, more or less on his own, ran the Dragon Rampant table we put up.  Also a big thank you to the Other Ones who may not be interested at all in this hobby of mine but who lets me get away with spending far too much time on it.

I would also say thank you to Chris of Marching in Colour (here is a link to his excellent painting service) who has been painting a fair few of my GNW units for this and next year’s TMT project – giving me more time to do some fantastic diversions and maximising the fun in the limited hobby time I have available.

Nick Dorrell, and his chums from the Wyre Forester Wargames club (link here), we ran Kalisz 1706 at Salute this year (see here) and Lesnaya 1708 at Joy of Six (see here). Nick and I have been doing 6mm Great Northern War Battles for the last six years as mentioned above we are doing Horka 1708 this year – if I get all of it done!   Also to Rob and Laurent that helped us at Salute and Peter and Igor of Baccus who always makes Joy of Six an easy gig!

Finally (almost), a big thank you for all you people out there who likes the blog on Facebook, follows it on Twitter (yes I have recently got myself wired up on this too), directly here on WordPress, or just comes by occasionally or even incidentally.  I really like the messages that comes through the blog and discussions I have had face-to-face with readers of the blog at the Joy of Six and Salute this year.

Now go and enjoy the end of this year. Hope you have a great 2108 and hey! – why not give something back to the hobby!  Having just eaten half of the world and drunk the other part over Christmas it tends to be at these times when we reflect on our health and promise to deal with it next year.  Henry Hyde, of Wargames compendium and Battlegames fame, just released a video that may not result in your lead mountain being painted any quicker but may help you being around long enough to have time to deal with it.  The video is called “Exercise Ideas For Writers and Gamers” – that is giving back big time so a my final thanks goes to you Henry!  Here is a link to the video on YouTube.

/ All the best and see you in 2018

Keeping Afloat – Great Northern War support for Düna 1701

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I am a secret fan of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War because they seem to live up perfectly to that idiom of “Live to fight another day”.  They successfully avoided a final decisive confrontation with the Swedes for more than 5 years until the Battle of Fraustadt in 1706 (see here).  But this may not have led to a peace treaty unless the King (Charles XII, or Karl XII as I prefer to call him), as he did, marched into Saxony and more or less forced the Saxons to the negotiation table.   The Saxon army kept its arrogance towards the Swedes during this period and famously the Senior Officers at  the Battle of Klissow 1702 (see here) asked the servants to keep Lunch warm as they set out to “crush” the Swedes!. One of the key early confrontations between the Saxons and the Swedes was at the Crossing of the Düna in 1701 (here is the Wikipedia page about the battle).

In a recent blog entry I mentioned this battle when discussing the Twilight of the Sun King’s Second scenario book (see more here).  As I said then, I have played versions of this battle with some other rules in the past and have treated the supporting artillery from Riga and the gun boat as off board pieces.

In addition I used a big base and placed some artillery bases on to represent a floating gun battery, but it did not look very impressive.  I want to do a refight of this with the Twilight rules but thought it appropriate to make a more inspirational floating gun battery and to pimp up the 10mm boat I got at SELWG a few weeks back (see here).  Here is a short note on how I made these. These are 6mm.

The Gun Boat

For pimping up the Gun boat I used some of the Baccus field guns from their early 18th century range (link here) but I cut them down to create the look of guns you would have on a ship as opposed to being dragged around the countryside in your normal artillery train.  I was going to add small wheels but felt that it was not needed.  I also added some Baccus Artillery crew and a few normal officers and musketeers.  I had a few Microworld duelists and a model from their peasant rabble to indicate some civilians on the deck as well (see here).  I thought a sack of apples on the deck from the Perfect Six range would seal the deal (see here).  I arranged them to show activity on one side only, bombarding the Saxons in their entrenchments.

Apparently it was a 16 gun sloop in reality instead of this 8 gun vessel that probably makes any person “navally” astute turn their stomach inside out – but it works for me.

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I then base coated it and painted it up, I did it quickly and I may go over it again when I have time and I also need to add some sails and perhaps a Swedish flag or two – but that is for another time.

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Floating Gun Battery

I had seen the following drawing (taken form the Wikipedia page on the crossing, link above) of a floating Gun Battery. However but this kind of model would create a very big footprint, Remember the frontage of a battalion is 60mm (with a front row of 12 No. 6mm, not 150 or so men), the way I have based.

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In my searches also saw a the nice floating mortar battery on the eminent League of Augsburg page (see more about this  here),

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My design is some kind of halfway house between these two designs – with both mortars and field guns and tents as per the original drawing, but shamelessly I stole the viewing platform idea from the League and made my platform roughly the same size.

I used a credit card sized base (a Health Lottery Card), and then some pieces from another card to build the front structure and viewing platform. Glued on three Baccus Mortars in the back, a Baccus tent in the middle (for the gun powder, being protected in case of rain), some cannon ball stacks, and some other stuff from perfect six – barrels and sacks. I then put 3 Baccus field guns in the front and cladded the whole thing with my special spaghetti that looks pretty good as 6mm timber [I have used this material for a number of applications, including snake rail fencing (see here), bridges (see here) and a fort (see here)].  However remember that most spaghetti stuff you find in your local Tesco will not work for 6mm – however pasta called Angel hair or Cappelini seems to be the ones to use.  I bought Garofalo Capellini from Amazon in the UK – about £8 for four packs. I kept one for modelling and the rest went to normal consumption. It is fragile, but if you use it like cladding it will work and it does do a recent impression of being timber.  I glue it on with super glue and trim it afterwards,  I also glued on some Baccus officers and a artillery man on the viewing platform and then cladded this with spaghetti as well.

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It painted up nicely and at some point I need to add some more artillery crew to make the base more dynamic, I like the front and the soot, form the firing, around the timber.

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Really happy with these and it will be good to see them in action soon.  Will need to do some work on a Pontoon bridge and some mobile defenses for the Swedes – as for the miniatures they are proudly standing painted in storage waiting for the gear to be sorted.

I said I was going to do some comparison shots between 6mm Post-Apocalyptic cars, but I am afraid it will be for the blog entry next week.

/ Hope that was of some interest, All the best

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – Horka 1708 – Russians and the Field of Battle, GNW Stuff and Podcasts

Horka 1708 – Notes on Russians and the Field of Battle

I presented the Swedish army I would need for the Horka 1708 battle two weeks ago and gave a little background to this what-if battle (it may help if you have not read the previous entry if you start here).  For the Swedes we basically assume it is the same army that set out from Grodno in the beginning of 1708 that will fight at Horka – yes in all fairness the body of men should perhaps be reduced to allow for the attrition effect of an army on the march (illness, skirmish casualties, desertions, etc.).  For the Russians at Horka, Nick provides information in his book (The Dawn of the Tsarist Empire, by Nick Dorrell, link here) on the likely composition for the infantry based on available sources (a few assumptions have been made based on this detail to produce the army list, also note that this may change as we move forward, but I want to have a list to work from in completing the miniatures – I will also need all of them for the upcoming Poltava battle so doing them will not be a waste).  For the Russian cavalry we assume a similar composition to that of the Battle of Holowczyn.

The full list of units for the Russians I will be working on are presented at the end of this post.

Below is the illustration from Nick’s book, showing the Russian position at Horka, this will be used as a basis for making the table.

Horka Map

The next sequence of pictures show at high level how I derived the map (Call it Horka 1.0).

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(i) Based in the assumed sizes of the regiments in Nick’s book I estimated how wide the three infantry sections would be and found them about 100cm (3’6″) each (assuming a base width of 6 cm).  The red box show the standard size I have used for my GNW Battles of old (8′ by 4′) but, as you can see, this does not really capture the battlefield this time.  The black box (dotted line) show a 12′ by 6′ shape – that is more like it! (ii) I then tilted the box as this seemed a more natural way to cut the field of battle.  However I was not totally happy and wanted to create a little more space in front of the Russian right.
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(iii) I decided to compress the middle and make the built-up area and the river/marsh section narrower. I did this by cutting the picture in three slices and cropping them (in width).  That felt better – kind of a battle field diet, (iv) The picture was made straight! and (v) overlaid with some details (in powerpoint, using some textures to make it look more interesting) and ended up with a nice guide for how to make the final table.
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Horka 1708 v1.0, I may still go for a 12′ by 5′ instead of 12′ by 6′ as it would make it more practical. And some more spaghetti bridges.  A caveat is that there is still time to change our minds about where this Battle took place.  Perhaps it did (not) happen somewhere else?

Still finalising batches of painting so not much to see here, hurry along… and moving swiftly over to something else.

GNW Books and Scenarios

Over the years I have met many people in the UK who are interested in the Great Northern War but struggle to find decent books on the subject in English (apart from the usual suspects like Peter Englunds fantastic book on Poltava, the Massie book on Peter the Great, or the Osprey Poltava book) – this is a shame and I wish more books were available.  At the SELWG show last week I had a few discussions along these lines with a few old and new friends.   For example, I think Oskar Sjöström’s book on the Battle of Fraustadt 1706 (link to it here) is an amazing book and ought to be available in English.   It won the best Swedish history book of 2008 and is an absolute gem – it inspired me enough to paint thousands of 6mm soldiers with winter bases for my first Joy of Six outing many years ago whilst listening to Sabaton’s Carolus Rex album.

At Fraustadt the Swedish forces faced
An army almost twice its size.
And on that day we showed the world not only
Our superiority in battle but also
How cruel man can be. Frozen ground,
Ride with the wind
Emerge from the gunsmoke like demons
Rehnskiöld’s men
Charging their flanks
The enemy trembles with fear”
From the Song Killing Ground by Sabaton, from the Carolus Rex Album (2012)
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The wintery Battle of Fraustadt 1706 at Joy of Six 2012 (I think!). You can actually download the Ordre de Battaille here (showing who is who, if you do not already know).

The recent two-part Great Northern War Compendium was a very welcome addition, not just for the English reader but for anyone interested in this period, and is a fantastic set.  I think you can still get copies of it from Caliver books – it is expensive and I doubt it will go down in price once the print-run has sold out.

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I found a review on Amazon that I think encapsulate my own feeling about the set.

“This set is hands down one of the most lusciously detailed, illustrated, written, translated, and produced works of military history I have had the pleasure of reading in a long, long time. And that is not hyperbole. From the quality of the original research and translations, to the breadth of coverage, to the details of the individual battles and topics, to the huge number of gorgeous maps that accompany almost every article, this set is simply stupendous. Let me mention that last part again. So many works of modern military history neglect the critical aspect of cartography. With a topic as obscure as the Great Northern War maps are critical. Not only are the maps a huge part of this work, they are literally works of art. They are easy to understand, numerous, clear, and beautiful. I can not say enough good things about this fantastic resource. Even if the GNW is not your period of main interest, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed in your purchase. I would have bought this set at twice the price, and I mean that nor do I have any connection whatsoever with the publishers.”

From Jason C. Pipes review of the Great Norhtern War Compendium taken from Amazon.com 15/10/17

“So why the excitement”, I hear you thinking, “…we know about your Fraustadt Battle already and the Compendium was released more than a Year ago!”. Ok, sorry, here we go.

I noted recently that there is a book coming, preliminary in May 2018, that sounds really interesting and I pre-ordered a copy. The book is called The Swedish Army of the Great Northern War, 1700-1721 and written by Lars Ericson Wolke.  Lars is Professor at the Swedish Military Academy in Stockholm and have written widely on Swedish and international military history and I have read many of his previous books with great pleasure.

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Here is the blur about the book (taken from Amazon):

The book describes the development of the Swedish Army during the Great Northern War, 1700-1721, when Sweden fought against a coalition of Russia, Denmark-Norway and Poland-Saxony. For parts of the War also Prussia and Hannover joined the enemy coalition. The book describes how the Army was reorganised in the year before the outbreak of the war, with its unique allotment system of recruitment. The book also includes a list of all Army units during the 21 years of war.

The strategic situation in the Baltic Sea region in the last 1690´s is given, and is then followed up by an analysis of the strategic situation in the early 1720´s.

A description of the Army as it was at the time of the outbreak of the war in 1700, as well as the system of fortresses around the Baltic Sea is provided. The equipment and tactics of the Army are presented, not the least how they developed during the long period of the war.

The development of the 21 years of war are described and discussed to give the reader a good overview of the military (and partly the political) development. The battlefield Performance of the Swedish Army is in depth studied through descriptions and analysis of six battles and one campaign.

The book includes a list of suggestions for further reading, and is supported by a large number of illustrations including specially-commissioned colour uniform plates.

Wow!  I pre-ordered  a copy from Amazon here.  This is part of the same series as the other book (I am wating for!) I discussed in an earlier blog entry about the Russian Army of the period, link here.

In addition, and from the same publisher, there is another Great Northern War book being completed.  This one is called “The Battle of Poltava 1709” by Valerii Alekseevich Moltusov.  I am happy this work will be available in English, as I suspect this may be a translation of a book he wrote in 2010 about the Battle (but I may be wrong), that was translated into Swedish.  The book was brilliant.

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And the blur from the publishers page:

Based on Swedish, Russian and Ukrainian source, this book presents a modern look at the pivotal battle of the Great Northern War. The uniqueness of the book is that it reveals the consistency and logic of the Russian army’s actions. The book also provides a detailed historiography of the Battle of Poltava. The author reveals the secrets of military engineering art Russian and Swedish armies. For the first time, new evidence for the location and configuration of the fortification system on the battlefield is given, as well as new information on the actions of Russian artillery in battle is given. In addition, there is much information on the strength and composition of Russian troops аt different stages of the battle, as well as an examination of the participation in the battle of irregular military formations on both sides. The author’s conclusions complement our understanding of the battle. Highly illustrated including specially-commissioned colour artwork and maps, this is a major new account of one of the 18th century’s most important battles.

Here are three other books relevant to the Great Northern War in English for you to check out, all of them are covering a longer period of history. They all give insight into the rise and decline of Sweden as a major power in the region and puts the build up to the war and its aftermath into context.   I recommend all of them (the first one is normally available second hand from Amazon at a very low cost).

  • The Struggle for Supremacy in the Baltic 1600-1725, by Jill Lisk (link here)
  • A Warrior Dynasty: The Rise and Decline of Sweden as a Military Superpower, by Henrik O. Lunde (link here)
  • The Northern Wars 1558-1721, by Robert I. Frost (link here)

In addition Nick (Dorrell) gave me a copy of his Second Scenario Book for the Twilight of the Sun King (TotSK) rules at Joy of Six in July.  It took me until recently to have a read through.  It is called the Ottoman & Great Northern Wars and contains the following scenarios:

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I only went through the Great Northern War scenarios.  None of the tables required to play these (with a base width of 60mm, two of these bases makes a normal unit in the rules)  are bigger than the normal 6′ by 4′.  For each Battle there are options and in some cases what-if proposals, e.g. a field action at Narva where the Russians march out on the fields in front of Narva, instead of staying in their fortified positions, and take on the Swedes. Overall I think the mix of scenarios works well and the only one I felt was missing is the Fraustadt 1706 battle – but then I remembered it is the example battle in the main TotSK rules.

Narva and Holowczyn are attacks by the Swedes on a strong position. Klissow, Gadebush and Storkyro are more traditional battles of the era.  Both the Lesnaya and the Crossing of the Düna scenario are interesting in that the objectives, from a Swedish perspective,  are not necessary to win the battle outright but to establish and defend a bridgehead in the case of Düna and to limit the destruction of the marching army in the Lesnaya scenario.

We have presented both the Lesnaya and the Gadebusch battle using the rules and the scenarios at Joy of Six in the past.  My favourite one is the Crossing of the Düna where a Swedish assault force supported by artillery tries to secure a bridge head whilst a pontoon bridge is being completed at the same time as a full army of Saxons are advancing.  I have played versions of this battle using the Polemos as well as Maurice rules in the past and may give it a go with the TotSK rules in a not to distant future.  I have promised myself this time to do it with a proper gun boat, artillery float and a pontoon bridge.  I find that the additional rules in some of the scenarios for weather effect (snow storm for the Narva scenario) and rolling for enforcements in the Crossing scenario adds a nice uncertainty to the game.  The Holowczyn what-if scenario is very similar to the Horka idea.

More about the rules and the scenario books here.  I also wrote a few lines about the rules in a previous blog (see here).

The 10mm Gunboat I bought last week at SELWG (see more here) is slowly going to take the role of a gun sloop at Düna – supporting the Swedish crossing.

I also got a nice surprise in that a friend of mine Michael Leck is doing a Great Northern War battle at Salute this year using the Pikeman’s Lament rules (that he and Dan Mersey wrote and I and the Little One have enjoyed played on many occassions, for example see here and here).  You may recall his fantastic Fort Mosquito set-up from Salute last year or known him from some of the other stuff he has done over the years.

Michael Leck is, perhaps, more famous for the fantastic stuff he presents on his Dalauppror blog (here) and his articles in the Wargames, Soldier and Strategy magazine where he has presented snippets from the rich Swedish military history and how to adapt some popular rule set to play in these, more than often, unknown theatres.  You may recall that I put up a picture of his fantastic, and award winning, game at Salute in the last blog update (here).  Michael, and I, used to roll dice and use our imagination in the same role-playing club many moons ago.

From some blogs ago

He will be doing the Battle of Stäket which is the last land battle of the Great Northern war.  He provided a sneak preview of the table being made recently.

 

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Apart from a few 24 pound cannons, Carl Baltzar von Dahlheim, had two battalions of the Östgöta tremänningar regiment, a barge and three galleys at his disposal”. A great Swedish hero of the Great Northern War who served from the beginning of the war, to this, the last land battle when he chased out the Russians from Stockholm in 1719. This is looking like another brilliant table!

 

But we baked you some Biscuits!

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If you have not yet listened to the “The Lardy Oddcast” that you can find on the Too Fat Lardies webpage then go and do so – it is very interesting! (link here).  They have produced some of the exceptionally good and innovative rules over the years (like IABSM, Sharp Practice and Chain of Command to mention a few) this give a nice insight to what is going on the Lard Island as well as in the head of the islanders – well worth a listen!

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Some of the many titles from Too Fat Lardies

It is another welcome thing to do whilst painting or whatever else you do with your hands when you listen to a podcast.  I am still yet to get going with my Chain of Command 15mm Winter War stuff  – but I seem to be running out of excuses.  I still have to do some of the terrain but should get cracking with a game at some point (here is were I got up to last year, link here and here).  I have done a few games of Chain of Command but would really like to get a few more under my tight belt!

As you are aware, I am a fan of the Wargames Veteran podcast (link to it here) and the latest episode was another good one, especially as Jay had invited Peter Berry along for a chat.  Peter, if you were not aware, is the owner of Baccus 6mm (link here) – I may have featured a few of his miniatures on this blog! (also the podcast before this one is a good one with Henry Hyde and his upcoming Campaign book, and the one before that one… and the one before that one,….).

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You will find out how Baccus came about, and also why it is not spelt Bacchus, but more importantly Peter and Jay discuss the current trends in the wargames publishing market – mainly focusing on 28mm and skirmish type games.  I think it is a fair observation and it is worth listening to what Peter actually is trying to say.  This stems from an opinion piece Peter published on the Baccus home page recently.  The underlying message is that there is something we hobbyists could do in helping and that is to submit articles to the editors of the magazines, whatever scale or type of wargaming we are into.

Jay, as always managed to nutshell the moment, with the following statement, “If we want this hobby to continue, then we gonna have to be open and willing to share , and willing to help and maybe not be so negative towards the neo-fights!”

And with reference  to Neo-fights!, the Brits and Americans are yet again debating the greatness of something without having done a full sample of the market.  Everyone knows that the best biscuits are from Gothenburg and are call Ballerina, and you definitely dunk these, in whatever liquid you have at hand. 😉

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He also interviewed Howard Whitehouse about Mad Dogs With Guns (link here).  This is a new gangster game from Osprey Games that I have made myself a post-it note to check out.

A few other things I took away from the Berry Interview were the word Scanian War range and re-sculpting the Great Northern War range!

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Finally the Little One has expressed some interest in some Star Wars miniature gaming – we already have a large collection of the ships from the X-wing game – so this next venture will be into some skirmish gaming.  Imperial Assault has been out for some time and soon Star Wars Legions will be out.  A majority of the Fab Four at the Meeples and Miniatures podcast discusses Imperial Assault in their latest show and I am very tempted to give it a go, but resisting as I do not have time for another diversion at this moment – like the Dreadball one, having painted 6 teams over a very short period of time.  Legion or Assault?- it is still open for us and not an immediate issue to resolve. Listen to the Meeples podcast here.  I am a long time sufferer of the show and can proudly call myself a Meep, check it out and become one you too.

/ Have a good week-end I am certainly on a high this week, that was a long rant!  But at least an early posting for a change.

Russian Army List

Here is that Russian army list, I promised earlier.

Unit – Name of the Regiment/unit

Type – Infantry or Cavalry

Ref – Reference

Polemos Bases – 60 by 30mm base with 9 riders or 24 foot – 2 of these are a normal unit in Twilight of the Sun King rules. 1 is a small unit and 3 a large unit.   The X indicate how many are needed.

Class – RD – Russian Dragoon, RI – Russian Infantry with Pike.

Unit Type Ref Polemos Bases Needed Class
Preobrazhenski Infantry R01 3 RI
Semenovski Infantry R02 3 RI
Ingermanlandski Infantry R03 3 RI
Astrachanski Infantry R04 1 RI
Moscowski Infantry R05 2 RI
Sibirski Infantry R06 2 RI
Pskovski Infantry R07 2 RI
Kazanski Infantry R08 2 RI
Vologodski Infantry R09 2 RI
Nizhegorodski Infantry R10 2 RI
Busch’s Grenadier Regiment Infantry R11 2 RI
Repnins Grenadier Regiment Infantry R12 2 RI
Kievski Infantry R13 3 RI
Narvski Infantry R14 3 RI
Schlüsselburgski Infantry R15 2 RI
Novgorodski Infantry R16 2 RI
Butyrski Infantry R17 2 RI
Rostovski Infantry R18 2 RI
du Bois’ Grenadier Regiment Infantry R19 2 RI
Rentzel’s Regiment Infantry R20 2 RI
Lefort’s Regiment Infantry R21 2 RI
Kargopolski Infantry R22 2 RI
Koporski Infantry R23 2 RI
Tobolski Infantry R24 2 RI
Belgorodski Infantry R25 2 RI
Luzhski Infantry R26 2 RI
Olonetzski Infantry R27 2 RI
Ryazanski Infantry R28 2 RI
Vjatski Infantry R29 2 RI
Chernigovski Infantry R30 2 RI
 Menshikovs livskvadron Cavalry R46 2 RD
 Vladimirska Cavalry R47 3 RD
 Sibirska Cavalry R48 3 RD
 Nizjegorodska Cavalry R49 4 RD
 Vjatska Cavalry R50 3 RD
Nevska Cavalry R51 3 RD
Novgorodska Cavalry R53 3 RD
Rostovska dragonregementet Cavalry R54 4 RD
Smolenska Cavalry R56 3 RD
Troitska Cavalry R57 3 RD
Tverska Cavalry R60 4 RD
 Moskovska Cavalry R64 4 RD
 Belozerska Cavalry R65 3 RD
 Archangelgorodska Cavalry R66 3 RD
Livregementet Cavalry R67 4 RD
Azovska Cavalry R68 3 RD
Kazanska Cavalry R69 3 RD
Rjazanska Cavalry R70 3 RD
S:t Petersburgska Cavalry R71 3 RD
Tobolski Cavalry R72 3 RD
Yaroslavski Cavalry R73 3 RD
Kalmuk Cavalry R74 8 RD
Cossack Cavalry R75 8 RD
Astrakhanski Cavalry R87 4 RD
Psokovski Cavalry R90 4 RD

/

Dreadballs of Fire and waiting for Command and Colors Tricorne

Sometimes the work-life balance does not swing favourably in terms of time left to do hobby related activities. This week, and I suspect the next week, will be one of those times.

The little time I did have this week was spent progressing on the Rats for Dreadball and they are now ready for some detailing. When they are done it will give a full Season One painted set-up with 4 teams (including the a full complement of MVPs).  Not great paint jobs but far better than the base grey colour of the plastic and I managed to do it in about 3 weeks of limited hobby time.  The fact that the Little One is into it as well makes it more motivational to crack on with.

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The Little One and I had a few good games of Dreadball using two human teams to get to grips of the rules – and we really like it.  I really recommend the series of videos by Andy2D6 on YouTube, the first one “How To Play DreadBall – Part One: The Board” can be found here.

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Very straightforward Tutorials on the Basic Game of Dreadball by Andy2D6

The following are a few shots from the games we played.  The Little ones blue guys was a bonus we got when we bought another base set of eBay – to add a few more Season 2 teams cheaply.  As per usual he rolled high and I rolled low, his Jacks (all-rounders) were as good slammers as my Guards (heavy hitters) and his ability to use the Strikers was very inspirational.  Nevertheless after a few games we got a nice flow and we really enjoy playing it (did I say we like it?).

 

Since I prefer my hat Tricorne I have been looking forward to the latest version of the Command and Colors rules (e.g. Memoirs 44 and Command and Colors Ancients) called Tricorne Command and Colors – The American Revolution.  I got my copy from Boardgameguru (see here) and I think that is the best deal currently on the net (or at least that I found browsing around).   I have to admit that I felt that the price was a little bit steep but I had already made my mind up and I suspect the first print run will sell out fast and then it will cost even more to get hold of a copy later.

tricorne command and colors

 

The rules booklet is downloadable here.   The following scenarios are covered:

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

The following units are included (as the classical wooden blocks) to play the scenarios and I am tempted to do something with it in 6mm – at some point in the future. Baccus make all the miniatures needed (link to their AWI range here) and I think it would look absolutely fantastic.

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Extract from the Rules and Scenario Booklet

/ I hope it will be like a Carlsberg – Worth waiting for!  Incidentally I am also waiting for some magnets I have ordered to push on with the Rommel bases (see previous post here).  Have a good week!

 

 

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – The Joy of Six 2017

It seems like ages ago that we went to Sheffield for the Joy of Six 2017 and I have had my head down into work and some neglected duties like 1800mm terrain modelling (gardening) and real life painting (some feature walls instead of shield walls) with a limited amount of any useful hobby time.  However, there is always some progress on some front in the Roll a One world (but more on that next week).

This is my take on the fantastic spectacle that is the Joy of Six – it is very biased as I frankly spent most of the day around the two tables I had brought.  I had a few round trips but failed to take more than a few pictures of the other offerings – mainly because I ended up having a chat and then feeling bad that I had left the tables and rushed back.  However, this was a little bit of an unnecessary mitigation as the games were running pretty well without my interference. The Wyre Foresters running the Lesnaya Table and the Little One the Lechnaga bash.  So as far as a proper show report goes it is a limited one.  For a better overview check out the report on Baccus page (link here and here).

A tale of two tables

It was a nice and sunny day in Sheffield and we woke up early as we actually managed to get to bed relatively early.   The mat for the Lesnaya Battle was rolled out and it was so refreshing compared to the usual 2 by 2 feet boards I have been using in the past – that invariably have warped a little bit and/or the underlying tables being uneven leading to some interesting and unintended elevations.

I had some fears about the varnish and the rivers but it all seemed to work very well – I think I have convinced myself that I will do mats from now (more on this adventure here).

When we had put on all the trees, the houses, the wagons and the starting units I took a step back and I have to admit we were pleased. “It is GEFAG!”, the Little One said – Good Enough For A Game!

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View with Lesnaya at the far end.  There was a nice shine in the river and the simple bridges (made from thin Spaghetti) worked really well!  In the middle Freijbourgs rear-guard awaiting the onslaught of the Russian war machine.
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Side table for the Russians as they were coming onto the table during the Battle from the directions – Golitsyn’d Division with Tsar Peter, Menshikov’s Divison and Bauer’s Division. There were also few Swedish enforcements (on the top left hand corner).
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Bauer’s eventual entry point in the left corner.
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Shot showing the defensive lines of Wagons, Lesnaya and Stackelberg’s Infantry (Swedish) as well as some of the Cavalry.
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Another Angle
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With the Cavalry commanded by General Lewenhaupt himself.
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The density of the forest really worked

 

The Wyre Forrester, under the guidance of Nick Dorrell, got on with the job.  Most of the time was spent talking about the table, the war, the mat and the Twilight of the SunKing Rules that was used on the day (the basing I use is the Polemos “standard” but this works equally well for the TotSK rules – one base is a small unit, two bases a normal unit and three bases a large unit).

At the latter part of the day the game started moving in earnest but did not reach a climax before we packed up.

Here are a few pictures from the action.

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For the Lechnaga battle (see background here and here) we used one of the mats I did for the Saga stuff last year and the canopy forests (see more here on this terrain). The actual gaming area was the middle half of the 3 by 4 foot mat.

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We decided to run the game (using Dragon Rampant Rules) with a war band/force sheet for each player and did a bespoke measuring stick based (we used centimeters instead of inches) on the units in the war band. We also did cards that to use to agree the order in which a player had a go – this created another layer of friction to the game. All, of course, colour coordinated!  I have provided the files if you are interested in doing something similar.

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I bought some cheap 20cm rulers for 50 pence each and printed out the file (download files here in PDF and Powerpoint – Dragon Rampant Rulers and Dragon Rampant Rulers) on some sticker paper (normal paper and glue may do as well!) and put them on the rulers where appropriate.

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The turn order cards are here Turn order Cards and here turnorder cards.

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A then the file with the factions used on the day here Factions and here Factions  .

We had a few good games – the Little One was in charge.  Here are some pictures – a big thank you to the few who dared to sit down and roll a few dice with the kids. The future of the gaming community and industry salutes you! The Little One would like to give a special thanks to Oliver and Chris!

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Other tales

It was a very good day, but it always seems to end too quickly,  here are a few of the things that I managed to capture.

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Arguably the warmest smile for miles!, but this is how we most commonly see Dr Mike in action. His posts on the Baccus forum in the old days got me inspired enough to get on with painting my first set of 6mm units. Grey primer, black wash, block and Nut-brown ink and base it nicely and consistently.
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My first contact with Waterloo was through that famous Abba Song and my mother moving like a Dancing Queen in front of me.  Dan Hodgson’s (on the front left) Waterloo was equally brilliant and was an absolute treat.  Chris Grice, on the right who wrote the Polemos Napoleonic rules, looked like a true General pondering on his next move of the day.  Here is the blur from the Baccus page.   I am a fan of Dan!
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Mr Peter Berry himself doing the Raffle and the many thanks session!   Never in the field of human table top conflict have so many had so small toy soldiers to thank for so much!

 

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Cold War Commanders – Landjut 1989 (Always having a good time and game, link to their blog here).  As a Swede I love when the Danes get a little harmless kicking on the table top.

 

 

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Mailed Fist – Last Train to Berlin (always very nice games and detailed terrain).  I should have taken a picture of the town but got star struck and just stared!

 

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South London Warlords – Neustadt Crossing 1985 (Excellent!). More about it here.  Iain we should meet up for a game at some point!
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MADgamers – Eastern Front 1700 (Trevor, thanks for the little chat).  Always happy to see you Gents at Joy of Six!

 

 

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WW1 Grand Style (I think the sign had a slight error – I let you go and figure).  Very nice!

 

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Salford 1642 – Excellent and so many houses! Link to some more blur here.

There were more tables that deserved to be shown of, but my lack of focus resulted in a limited set of pictures.  However, again here is the link to the Baccus official report part 1 and Part 2.

Of particular interest to me was the Battle of Issus using Command and Colours (or is it Colors!) by the Wyre Forest gang.  This really got me inspired to do something similar for the Punic Wars (but I save this discussion to another time – when I have not clue what to write about!).  There is a picture of it on the Baccus link above.

Yet again a very good event indeed. Thanks to Baccus, Wargames Emporium and all the other people that makes it all happen.  I have to extend the thank you to my two Little Ones – one doing her second year in the Yellow Joy of Six Jersey, selling entrance and raffle tickets, and the other for running one of the games.  Also a big thanks to Nick and the other merry men from the Wyre Forest!

Finally and big thank you to all of you who came around and said hello and told me you were reading this blog and liked it.  I really appreciate it and all you others who seem to come by every now and then!

We will back next year!, did I say thank you?

/  Have a good week!

Postscript (15/10/17):  I have had a few queries on the sources of the trees I used for this project, I got these from various sources on eBay. Here are a few screenshots done on the date indicated above of what I used.  None of these are based  (apart form the Orbicular ones have a little of a root section) and I did it by using washers with a bit of Milliput and make a hole in, let it dry, glue on some sand and paint it up, flock it and stick in the tree with some glue.  Some boring hours of work but I do think it is well worth it. 

The fir trees were from Busch and I think I got 3 or 4 packs of these – shop around as I recall I got mine somewhat cheaper.

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The other main tree was of this variety.

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I also got a few packs of the following:

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Another postscript a little bit later:

These are the blur for the two games we ran on that day.

One of the highlights of every Joy of Six is Per Broden’s annual exploration of his Swedish heritage as he stages wonderful games with a distinctly Scandinavian feel.  At the Joy of Six 2016 he went one further and produced two games.
He is repeating this feat this year, with two very different offerings in scope and subject matter.

Here is what you can expect to see this year in Per’s own words:

‘Lesnaya 1708

I, Nick Dorrell and the very decent chums of the Wyre forest Wargames club will be doing three battles (two that took place and one that could have been) from the Great Northern War covering the, from a Swedish perspective, ill-fated Russian campaign 1708 to 1709. Each of these battles will be presented at the Joy of Six show over the next three years.

The campaign is the invasion of Russia by Charles XII of Sweden starting with the crossing of the frozen Vistula river in early 1708 and ends with the Swedish defeat at the Battle of Poltava in the Summer of 1709.  It is the beginning of the end for Sweden as a dominant military power in north-eastern Europe.

The first battle is Lesnaya 1708 and is interesting as it is, in effect, an ambush by a Russian flying detachment, led by Tsar Peter himself, on a smaller Swedish army that is travelling through the forests of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.  The Swedish army is led by General Lewenhaupt who is escorting a supply column of more than 4,500 wagons to support the main Swedish Army.  From the perspective of doing the battle we need a lot of forest as well as about 40 or more bases to represent the supply column itself.

In writing this the miniatures (from the Baccus range) are about 95% complete with a few more Russian dragoons to go.  The main thing remaining is the gaming area itself and a large number of trees is being finalised (there will be about 500 trees on the table!).

Overall the forces consists of:

  • Russians, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases).

  • Swedes, a few leaders and artillery as well as 10 Polemos bases (24 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases) of infantry and 57 Polemos bases of Dragoons (9 miniatures, on 60 by 30mm bases)

We will using Nick Dorrell’s adaptation of the Twilight of the Sun King Rules published by the Pike and Shot society, to play the game.

The game, and it’s very uneven progress, is being reported on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) – you can follow it there and see if we make it over the finishing line in July.’

So game number one, is another of Per’s GNW epics.   His second production couldn’t be more different both in scope and subject matter, although I do detect a little Swedish influence creeping in…

The Skirmish at Lechnagha in the Year of 708, since the birth of Suecia, during the Gigantic Northern War  700-721

A black arrow with red feathers suddenly hit one of the pack mules and it fell violently to the ground as its legs gave away to the heavy load it was carrying. This was shortly followed by hideous laughs and taunts from the surrounding forest – the same damn laughs he had heard so many times before. With the black and red arrow signature there was no doubt what was coming next.  Prior Lewen Hauptmann of the Knights of Suecia, threw his red cloak over his shoulder, raised his warhammer and turned to his men and screamed; “Get ready for the Greenskin’s attack! Push them back to their rotten holes! Give no pardon as it shall not be given to you! From earth they have come and to dust they will go!”.   He pulled down the visor of his helmet and gave a short prayer and looked around at his men – ironclad battle hardened Knights ready to fight to their last dying breath. “For the Glory of Suecia, give us your strength of battle!” he yelled out the blessing and his brothers responded concurrently; “We accept your strength”,  to complete the linkage to the divine plane. For a moment a reddish glow could be seen from their swords and spears as they were imbued with the spiritual power.

The Prior reflected for a moment on the stupidity of this wretched mission and how he had been forced into it by the Knight Marshal Carrophlus following his failure holding the Fort at Narvay.  He had chosen to spare his men from slaughter and made a deal with the treacherous Steward of Polesh, Arghaust the Strong who, he was the first to admit, surprisingly had let them go after opening the gates. The enemy had grown stronger under the combined leadership by Arghaust and the mighty Warboss Pethor the Brute, a tall Orc whose organisational skill, cunning and patience was remarkable for his kind. Pethor had manage to organise the Goblin and Orc rubble into a formidable fighting force. It had only been a matter of time before the Fort would fall and enough of his brothers had already been slain and reinforcements had not been forthcoming. The Fort was of limited strategic importance and he had chosen to live to fight another day.

As penance for this “disloyalty”, in addition to the demotion to Prior, he and his surviving men had been ordered to bring supplies to  the cut-off townspeople of Lechnagha. He had no retinue of servants, squires, men-at-arms or Sergeants as was the custom for these kind of soul purification missions. It had been a hellish journey through Goblin infested forests with constant harassment. He had lost half the men they started out with and only half of them still had their horses.  If their calculations were correct they were only a few miles away from the Town itself.  It had a small regular army garrison and since he had felt the presence of evil watching them for the last few days he had sent a rider for some enforcements. But now that seemed to have been in vain. He thought back on the situation at Narvay and how his death there would have qualified his name into the songs of the minstrels but instead he was facing death here in the middle of this despicable forest – for what?

He was quickly brought back to reality as yet another arrow hit another mule.  He looked around and could see Greenskins on both sides of the road riding their growling dire wolves closer.  They always got excited at the beginning of the fighting and intensified their laughter, reminiscent of that of a raving lunatic, that normally stroke fear into their opponents.  However, this was not what frightened him the most, it was the otherworldly scream he could hear from within the forest itself.

This is a participation game using the popular Dragon Rampant fantasy wargame rules by Dan Mersey (played to satisfaction not perfection). The main purpose is to have fun but also to showcase that 6mm can be used for games normally associated with the larger scales not just replacing individual miniatures with bases of many (like we did for Saga last year) but also scaling it down and still being able to enjoy a game.  With a 2′ by 2′ board (the size of a small coffee table) playing in centimetres instead of inches is in fact like playing on 4’6” by 4’6″ board.  We figure if you can have a few blokes taking a flag for a walk representing a regiment in some scales, why not do skirmish in 6mm?

We (the Little One and I) will run a few session over the day (with up to 4 participants each time) and welcome anyone to have a go.  1 to 2 players will control the Knights and 1 to 2 players will control the Greenskins.  It will serve as an introduction to the rules and we will limit each session to about 45-60 minutes (including a high level rule go-through). We happily mix fantasy miniatures from Baccus, Rapier, Irregular Miniatures, Perfect Six and Microworld on the table.

We have blogged about 6mm skirmish extensively on the roll a one blog (rollaone.com) – I will bring some of the other miniatures for other periods for you to have a look at should you wish.’

All the best!

Towards Moscow Trilogy (TMT) – Part 6: The Lesnaya 1708 Field of Battle – Planning and Setting out!

After having banged the 6mm skirmish drum for a while I have no choice but to get on with the big battle of the Year as Joy of Six is getting closer.

In creating a battle board for gaming a known battle there are a number of steps I take to allow me to create a reasonable area that creates the right balance between four elements – historical accuracy, playability, available space and overall visual impact.  Remembering important issues such as the difference between the ground scale and the figure scale for large scale battles (and building scale) – this is why you see towns represented by just a few buildings next to rivers that looks like the models could just jump over.

The Lesnaya Battle was not a straightforward “line-them-up-and-attack” battle but happened in stages where the Russians first attacked the Swedish rearguard that was reinforced in stages but the front line of battle constantly moved back towards Lesnaya – it quickly became clear that the battle would be best played length wise on the table.

I have used the map below as basis for the battle board and it was produced by Örjan Martinson on his absolutely brilliant Tacitus Webpage that contain a lot of useful information about the Lesnaya as well as other battles of the Great Northern War (link here http://www.tacitus.nu/gnw/battles/Lesnaya/ ). The map show the position of the opposing sides at the start if the battle (Note the name of Lesnaya in the traditional Swedish spelling – Ljesna).

Map1
Map from the Tacitus Webpage at the Start of the Battle

 

The first thing I wanted to do was to overlay my conceptual 4 by 8 feet (120cm by 240cm) battle board space over the map and see what area this would cover – would it be enough to play the battle on?  In this case I simply use the Freijbourg Rearguard as the basis for my battle board (marked in the red circle) for my calculations. The Rearguard consisted of 2 No.  battalions of De la Gardie’s Regiment and 1 No. battalion of the Närke-Värmland 3-männing Regiment.  In the Polemos Rules each battalion is represented by a 60mm frontage base and in the Twilight of the Sun King rules this is (at battalion level) represented by a normal unit (2 No. 60mm frontage bases) and a small unit (1 No. 60mm frontage base). Giving some space between the battalion I used a length of 20cm for the 3 bases.

Map2
The Rearguard Battalions

 

In the PowerPoint files I used to do the exercise the length of the Rearguard Box (in the picture) was 1.4cm and I multiplied this with 6 to get the equivalent of 120cm (or 4 feet) length, this is 8.4cm and I created two squares (with 8.4cm sides) and overlay these on the map to represent the area the board would cover. To my (happy!) surprise the area covered (as shown in the picture below) was spot on for where the fighting actually occurred.  Sometimes it does not work and you may not have enough space – you could easily cut this board down to a 6 by 4 table by taking away 2 feet of on the left hand side. The first notable encounter between the opposing armies was at the location of the rearguard. In addition it could be possible to reduce the depth as well but we did not have those problems on this occasion. All the Russian forces will not start on the board!

Following a deeper review of the overall battle from the start to finish with regards to the known locations of fighting, the area covered is sufficient to represent the fighting on the day.

Map3
The area captured!

But wait!, you may say… In the In the Twilight of the King Rules a base width (60mm, or 6cm, in our case) is about 150 meters, meaning that the frontage for our 3 bases (18cm) is about 450 meters.  As we measured 20cm this equates to about 500 meters width for the set of three bases with some space in-between.  We can clearly see that the width of the rectangle is far less than the 0.5km length based on the ruler in the to left corner.  So in terms of adherence to real scale it does not work but in terms of ground scale and playability it does – I think that makes sense?

Case Study: Fraustadt 1706

Another example is when I did the wintery Fraustadt 1706 Battle a few years ago where the main feature was the line of Saxons and Russians between the two Villages (Rörsdorf and Geyersdorf). The key design feature of that battle board was to be able to fit all the based miniatures for this line the space available. I physically put all the bases on the table and used this to draw the features on the board, this gave me the “correct” measurements to play the game efficiently.   I recall that I took some liberties on the Saxon/ Russian left flank to make the it work, but overall the battle board reflected the terrain features of the battle.

IMG_4884.jpg
Working on the Fraustadt Board in 2012

 

 

P1020011.jpg
Joy of Six 2012 – Battle of Fraustadt 1706. The Saxon-Russian line was not straight as it did not fit the available space.  You can find the Ordre de Batallie (OdB) here.  It is a map from the excellent book (Fraustadt 1706 – Ett fält färgat rött) on the battle by Oskar Sjöström (only available in Swedish).  I used this OdB and the map as a basis for doing the terrain boards.  The only change I did was to make move Rörsdorf  to make the overall line slightly straighter.  All in all the table showed a (1) historically feasible set-up with the key terrain feature present, rivers, roads, pond villages, etc (2) it was playable and the table was based on the frontages used for the battle, (3) it fitted on the table allocated and (4) I think that although the table perhaps leaves you cold (with the pun intended) it is spectacular enough!

 

Back to the Lesnaya table and the next step which is to highlight the key features of the battlefield that are needed on the final battle board. The board will contain a lot of forested areas (!), roads (important as they cut through the forests), rivers and bridges and the elevation around Lesnaya and the river.

 

Map4
Key Features

 

After this I mark out the features (I did not include the bridges or Lesnaya itself at this stage) and we are ready for the tools and the materials.

 

Map5.jpg
Sketch for further works

 

I have previously made the Great Northern War tables as 8 No. 2 by 2 feet boards but decided to do a mat this time in the same way as the Saga mats last year (See link here https://rollaone.com/2016/06/19/saga-in-6mm-part-7/ ).

The mat will incorporate the forest areas and make these darker than the general white areas (these will incorporate a few fields) the marshland will be a in yet a different colour and I will create separate river tiles to put on top of the mats (with bridges), including the elevations around Lesnaya.

I have not yet started the mat, instead focused the weekend on basing some trees – I will need a fair few.

Hope to show some mat progress soon.

I am working on some 6mm fantasy stuff in the background, here are a few pictures of work in progress (I will do a write-up later).

goblins4
Goblins from Microworld Games

 

knights1.jpg
Knights from Perfect Six Miniatures

 

/Have a good week

 

 

 

 

 

(Pruth Campaign) Skirmish Action in 6mm using Pikeman’s Lament – Part 4: The Swedes, another Game and rebasing the FIW stuff

Sap starting 3
Part of a Sipahi cavalry unit contemplating their next move

 

We could not help ourselves and really ought to be cracking on with the main project (whatever that was) but enjoyed the game of Pikeman’s Lament last week (see here) so we thought we give it another try.  As usual a lot of pictures, hope you like it… but first a few other things.

Loose ends from Last Week

I got some questions about some of the stuff I used for last weeks battle, especially about the battle board.  I will do a similar one for the Joy of Six Sharp Practice game in a few weeks time so I will do a tutorial and post it here, as this will be done in a similar way.

Also I made simple cards for each unit and laminated these – simple but effectual. I did them in Excel and pasted them into PowerPoint and added a picture of each unit, with a national emblem and a background. No more information than on the normal company roster, just one of those things we feel enhances the gaming experience overall.

cardscards2

Some Swedes

I have plenty of Swedish lead hanging around so I thought I do a few of these as well for our trials of the PL rules.

As per the plan a few blogs ago.

Swedish No Pts/ unit Total Pts Unit Size Total Models Baccus Pack
Shot

5

4

20

12

60

GNS01

Pike

2

4

8

12

24

GNS03

Aggressive Elite Gallopers

3

6

18

6

18

GNS05

Total

9

46

102

swed line
5 units of Shot

 

swed pike
2 units if Pike

 

swed cav
3 units of Gallopers

Rebasing the French Indian War Stuff

Whilst I was at it I have also rebased the French Indian War stuff I did for Sharp Practice using the “1-2-3 method” I have discussed before, as it is makes it easier to play especially for smaller skirmish.  Here are some pictures of the bases with the “old” shock markers next to them.  We will have to get things ready for this one as well pretty soon, as they are showing up at Joy of Six!  Note the French Commander from our game last and this week (Lt. Dupont – the younger I suppose?).  For the original posting and the previous basing, see here.  Note that some of the units are based in a 1-2-2-3 for the 8 model units (line) and 1-2-2-2-3 for the 10 model units (militia).

A What-if Battle to test the Pikeman’s Lament rules again

Forces

We thought we should take the Swedes for a spin against the same Ottoman side as last week (see here).

ottoman force

We had a friend of the family visiting so we invited him to be the Swedes and the Little One got the Ottomans again. Unlikely pairing but we wanted to try the Swedes out and the Little One wanted to field the Ottomans again (and hoping to gain some more Honour to his Lt. Dupont). We agreed on doing it but keeping the historical blasphemy quiet.

I actually painted the Swedish infantry above as being part of the Dalregementet in uniforms they had around the time of the Poltava Battle in 1709 were they surrendered. The regiment was then reformed in 1710 and stayed in Sweden until they fought bravely at Gadebusch in 1712 .  So they were certainly not around in Pruth.

The regiment was disbanded in 2000 and was the pride of the Dalarna region and fought in many famous Swedish battles throughout history, including Breitenfeld (1631), Lützen (1632), Lund (1676), Narva (1700), Kliszow (1702), Holovczyn (1708), Malatitze (1708), and as mentioned above at Poltava (1709) and Gadebusch (1712).

Their marsch was the famous Stenbocken Marsch to honour Fieldmarshal Magnus Stenbock who was Colonel for the Regiment  at the Battle of Narva and later the commander of the Great Victories at Halmstad (1710) and Gadesbusch (1712). The lyrics in Swedish here.  The first part of it translated to English (rather hastily) by yours truly below (the rest is as “poetic”, note that I have translate the Gå-På as Go Unto – this was the name of the offensive Swedish tactics used since Gustavus Adolphus days).

March, Soldiers! Go unto in the name of the Lord,

Cock the hammer merrily back, then eagerly present,

Give fire, musket down, take the sword in your hand.

Go unto, fear neither death nor fire

Go unto, for our native land!

To dare your life for king and family,

Is covered both in heaven and on earth,

Therefore we will plucky,

In our blue uniform,

Go unto, stand, thrust and slash,

Yes, beat them all, so

that they lay dead like cut straw

silence-1890cut.jpg
We promised not to tell anyone. Detail from the Painting Silence, by Fernand Khnopff (1858-1921), painted 1890

As for the Galloping cavalry I had a few left overs from the ones I did a few weeks back as I only needed one base of the Adelsfanan i Livland och på Ösel  but had a fair few of grey coated cavalry I no longer needed.  This is the Cavalry Corps of the Nobility in Livonia and Ösel.  They were part of the march to Ukraine with Lewenhaupt and also surrendered at Poltava (1709) and a smaller part of the unit that had remained in Riga surrendered in 1710. 

In fact, and based on reading the draft of Nick Dorrell’s upcoming book (discussed here), there were a small number of Swedish soldiers with the Crimean Khanate as part of the Ottoman allies most likely cavalry unit and some officers as advisors.   I will repent and make another more likely force containing mostly of gallopers from the elite Drabanterna unit and some riders from the Södra Skånska Kavalleriregementet.  These would most likely fight side by side with some light cavalry units. 

But I digress and back to the what-if battle….

For the Swedes we chose (a 24 point force):

2 units of Shot @ 4 points each

1 unit of Pike @ 4 points

2 Aggressive elite Gallopers @ 6 points each

The Scenario and Set-up

With regards to the battlefield (yet again a 2 by 2 board) we had a little section of river with a bridge, a road, a field, a rocky hill, some houses and a lot of trees.

Table

The starting positions for the Ottoman units were: (1) the Siaphi 3 cavalry units at the south end of the table behind the forest, and (2) the 2 Janissary shoot units in the southeast corner on the road next to the two houses.

The Swedes, of course, came from the North with the (1) two Adelsfanan cavalry units from the Northeast on the road and (2) the three foot units from the North.

Table2

Here some close-ups of those starting positions.

Sap starting 2Sap startingShot starting 2Shot starting

gall starting 2gall startingswed shot start 2swed shot start

This was a straightforward battle to the end scenario.

The Battle

The Swedish battle plan was to get up on the hill in the middle with one of the shot units (to which the officer was attached) and move the pike units towards the road.  The second shot unit would move around the North West forest and move forward from there.  The two cavalry units would advance to the other side of the bridge and wait for the foot units to get into position.

The Little One wanted to get his cavalry through the forest and start harassing the enemy as soon as possible but at the same time advance his shot to the middle of the road. He regarded the Elite Gallopers as the biggest threat with their stamina of 4.  On me telling him not to underestimate the Swedish infantry he asked me if I had read about Poltava and told me that they would probably get lost in the forest! Fair enough point taken.

Below are the pictures I took during the battle.  In short the Ottomans had some problems getting their shot getting to move on the road (perhaps the orders in French by Lt. Dupont were not clear enough). However the Ottoman Cavalry did managed to move through the forest and although it did manage to cause some damage to the Swedish cavalry who had advanced to the other side of the bridge it was not enough and instead the Swedish cavalry (being elite and with Stamina at 4) got the upper hand of that exchange but at very high cost.

The Swedish shot unit (as planned) got up on the top of the hill and from a relatively safe position managed to take out most of the Ottoman cavalry threat and also kill Ottoman shot unit with Lt. Dupont attached to it that had been successfully reduced in power by the pike unit.  However it (the shot unit) became a target for the Ottoman Crack shots (the second shot unit) that successfully manage to remove almost half its units in one shot (having previously done the same with the unit coming down on the east flank), killing the commander and making the unit rout (miserable morale roll). But before then a reinforcement unit of Swedish shot had appeared.

The Little One waited for the right moment and managed to clinch victory by routing the newly arrived reinforcement and then manage to get reinforcements in the eleventh hour – but by this time the battle was over.  The Little One had rolled brilliantly and turned the tides, yet again!  It feels a little bit better not standing there as a looser for a change!

In short we had yet another great time and the reflections this time are:

  • The terrain modifiers with regards to movement and combat are simple but yet feel realistic.
  • The elite gallopers are a very potent force!
  • The pike ability of close order is very good and captures the role of pike in a simple straightforward way.  It worsens the ability to attack but makes it better to defend and cause damage to the attacker much better. The Pikes stamina score of 3 is also useful and makes them very strong against attacking- (as opposed to shot)  biased units – like gallopers.
  •  The Little One learned that it is not over until the last dice are rolled although his cavalry was decimated he still had two strong (elite) shot units that made the day.
  • The rule of something good happening if you roll a double 6 on activation (and bad on a double 1) created some interesting events during the battle with the Swedish reinforcement about midway through the battle and the Ottoman reinforcement at the end of the battle. Again this adds to the Narrative and fog of war.
  • The Little Ones commander Lt. Dupont survived and was saved by the soldiers and he got another 5 honour so he is now “officially” a Lieutenant (at 24 points total) and he got the new trait of Fencing Master (giving him benefits if he challenges another Commander).

But, as you know by now, it is not over until the thumbs are up or down.

batt 46.jpg

So all in all another successful game.

/ I hope that was of some interest, have a good week