Friday, 10 September 2021

Gladiators in the Colosseum

Some 28mm gladiator figures in the Colosseum. I couldn't immediately find the original 1/72 Atlantic plastics, but I think the 28mm - although oversized - could do visually for a game.

The Colosseum needs a proper paintjob though. I got it as a present around 198/1981, and tried to paint it then when I was 14, but it was never quite finished.






Sunday, 5 September 2021

Friday, 3 September 2021

Playtest "Down Below"

I also like to play boardgames - so it's not all miniature wargaming all the time.

My boardgame gang gathered again at my house for the first time in 18 months (Covid19 has something to do with that ...), and on the menu was a playtest of "Down Below", a game my longtime buddy Dirk had designed during the lockdown. It's not a miniature game, but a simple dungeon exploration game. The idea is to make it available online once it's thoroughly playtested, along with some original fantasy artwork by our resident fantasy artist Foob.

Some images of yesterday's gathering:

Boomers eager to start a game after 18 months of inactivity ...

Prototype of the gaming board. Dungeons are generated based on the name of the dungeon, and the same name always produces the same dungeon.

Another close-up. There's only one token for the entire party.

The game desinger frantically trying to adjust some stats.

Cards for the game. Some of the art is already final, but a number of images are still placeholders found on the web.

Final state of the game after our playtest.

Monday, 30 August 2021

ACW Battle: Adapt and Survive

Over the past few days, I played another solo ACW game. We haven't started our regular games again, so we're still playing in solo mode.

I used the "Adapt and Survive" scenario from WSS #115. A cavalry force must defend some river crossing, attacked by a superior infantry force. Mobility vs numbers.

I won't give a detailed turn-by-turn account of the battle, just some highlights.

The initial setup. The cavalry force (Union) is deployed on this side of the table, the attacking infantry (Confederates) will approach from the road at the far table edge.

The first Confederate infantry regiments enter in march column, and will soon start deploying.

Union cavalry is deploying across the ford on their left flank. The idea is they will use hit-and-run tactics.

The Confederate infantry is deploying on both sides of the road, and starts taking fire from a deployed Union artillery gun.

On the Union right flank, cavalry is dismounting and taking up position to guard the bridge.

Dismounted cavalry is shooting at the approaching confederate cavalry.

Overview of the battlefield so far.

One of the mechanics I use: If an activation roll gives a double-1, that side can change the clock (I keep track using a huge D20), moving it either forwards or backwards. Defenders usually want to shorten the time, attackers want to lengthen it ;-)

The approach as seen from the Confederate side.

Another view of the developing battle.

The Confederates had drawn a random event at the start of the game, allowing to discover an additional ford. Comes in handy!

The situation on the Confederate right flank.

The Union artillery is taking aim at the newly discovered ford.

I use animal counters to indicate temporary unit status. "What did I use the sheep for again? Was it no action this turn or a forced morale test?"

More heavy fighting near one of the woods.

The flank where all the heavy fighting is.

Situation near the bridge.

Confederates fighting their way across the ford.

Stable situation on the other flank.

Last turn ...

It was a fun game. The Confederates were really pressuring the Union, and managed to cross the ford on the Union left flank. However, the bridge was not crossed. The discovered ford was used, but was guarded heavily by the Union artillery.

The difference between fast-moving cavalry (but with less firing range), and slow moving infantry was really significant. Fun scenario, I should repeat it when we start playing face-to-face games again.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

Some ACW rules changes

The ACW rules we use are house rules. They evolved from the "Brother vs Brother" set which we used in the late 90s, but we gradually adapted them after every game we played. After the solo "Battle of Salem Cemetery" game I played (see previous blogposts), I again adapted some of the rule mechanisms.

  • Morale responses. The whole game is given flavour by rolling on a table when a unit has to check for morale. All sorts of effects can be rolled for, sometimes amusing. I updated the current table somewhat, to streamline it w.r.t. other rule mechanisms. A couple of iterations ago, we also had "morale" checks for charging units (and those who received a charge), and I streamlined those as well, by making them seperate response tables, without them interfering with the overall morale tables.
  • Combat Resolution: The resolution of melee was done by comparing dice - the so-called SCRUD mechanism - and modifiers due to tactical or terrain factors meant adding or taking away dice from the dice pool. Artillery and fire resolution was also done by rolling dice, but modifiers were by modifying the die roll. I changed thus to adding/subtracting dice to the dice pool as well, so both combat resolution mechanism use the same set of modifiers.
  • Charge: Our units have variable move distances, and thus, it was possible that a charging unit came up short. I changed this such that a charging unit would always reach its target, but every hex needed above its rolled for charge distance means an additional die subtracted from the dice pool.

 I have a new game setup, we'll see how these changes work out.

Lay-out for the new ACW game, based on "Adapt or Survive" in the latest issue of WSS.


Friday, 20 August 2021

A few more magazines and the wargaming hoard ...

Yesterday I received a few more missing magazines to add to the growing database and my wargaming magazine collection.

 I received them from a wargaming friend, who is handling (part of) a large wargaming collection from a deceased wargaming friend of his, who passed away unexpectedly. Apparantly, the amount of wargaming figures, books, rules he left  ... is rather huge.

It makes you wonder what will happen to your own hoard. It's something I'm not terribly worried about yet (still young and healthy), but still ... Over the past years I've made a habit of trying to get rid of many old books and games of which I'm pretty sure I will never read or play them again. I'm trying to keep my collection within certain bounds - although it is still very large ;-) But I'm not allowing my hoard to expand without limits anymore.


Thursday, 19 August 2021

The Battle of Salem Cemetery (8)

Turn 7.

The turn of the cavalry charges :-)

First, there's a charge (morale effect) of the Confederate cavalry on the right flank.

Quite successful, so it seems.

Then there's another charge on the same flank, attacking the infantry position near the cemetery. Again, quite successful.

Thus means the cemetery hill is now largely undefended.

And another charge down the middle of the front.

Also, some advancement on the Confederate left flank, where the Union forces were completely wiped out.


I guess this somewhat concludes the game. There is some potential to slog it out over a few more turns, but the statistics and relative remaining strengths of the units show that Salem Cemetery has fallen.

The game went rather well, and as usual, I will tune some mechanics here and there.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

The Battle of Salem Cemetery (7)

Turn 6.

The units start to lose more and more of the Strength, so that means the morale checks can have more dire consequences.

On the Confederate side, one of the infantry units that approached towards the cemetery, is routing and fleeing the battlefield.


Luckily, there is still some cavalry left in reserve to bring up and keep a steady pressure on the Union defenders. Nothing much happens on the Confederate side.


The weakest Union unit (Strength 1!) is charging their enemies across the fence (result of a morale test), a forlorn hope attempt? Of course, they got butchered in the attempt.

The Union cavalry on the right flank is also routing!

The Union still have their centre brigade at prime strength. The idea is to shift them towards their left, towards the cemetery. The command roll fails, but a last event card is used to reroll the dice. The die roll succeeds this time, and 3 movement points are enough to form a new defensive line around Salem Cemetery!



Tuesday, 17 August 2021

The Battle of Salem Cemetery (6)

After a hiatus of 2 weeks (family holidays), another turn in the game ... Turn 5.

The Confederates continue their attack on their right flank towards the cemetery.

Meanwhile, the Confederate centre artillery battery is aiming their fire at the Union unit defending the cemetery. A good roll, forcing the unit to take a morale test next turn.

The cavalry melee on the Confederate left flank (Union right) is continuing. An excellent result for the Confederates, showing how brutal the SCRUD system can be. Dice are compared one by one, highest in a pair is a hit, and unpaired dice hit on 6+.

An overview as seen from the Confederate side.

And another overview.

The Union unit defending the cemetery, and which took some artillery hits, has to retreat 2 hexes because of its morale check.

The centre Union line is re-organizing, with the Union cavalry right being in a weak position. These 3 units are still at their starting strength.


Another view of the Union left flank.


So far, the game is going well. I am mainly testing out the rewritten morale rules. They used to be very brutal, reducing units that had already taken some hits very quickly to rubble. I made them more 'gentle', thereby allowing units to stay longer in the game.

Another minor change involve the charge rules. I was possible before that a charging units could not reach its intended target. Now they always do, but any additional hex the need above their rolled-for movement range results in one less dice in the ensuing combat.