Monday 30 August 2021

More 7th Cavalry action

Saturday saw a day's gaming session at Beacon Gaming Club.  Si had laid on a game using his Britannia Miniatures Cavalry and Indians figures, so I joined Will and Gary in the game, as Colonel Sheridan officer commanding Fort Laramie.

Sheridan was expecting a supply column from the northeast, when word reached the fort from a nearby trading post to the east that a party of settlers was in trouble along with their troop of escorts.  At the same time, pressure was on from HQ to support the local Cheyenne chief, who was still following a peaceable existence while younger hot heads were on the warpath.

Hastily writing orders, I sent a young officer off with two troops of dismounted cavalry to try and rendezvous with the supply column at a nearby water hole.  I sent another 2 troops of cavalry to the east to rescue the settlers and guide them back to the fort.  Leaving my third officer in the fort with the infantry, I rode with three troops towards the old chief's camp to provide some protection.

Sheridan leads the first troop out of the fort.

Infantry defending the fort.

The settlers with their defence troop, harried by hostiles.

Guided by smoke and gunfire, the two troop flying column shows up just as the hostiles melt away.  The escort troop and one of the relief troops head back to the fort, while one of the troops heads towards the trading post to swing around to the south to strengthen Sheridan at the village.

Meanwhile, the two dismounted cavalry troops trying to rendezvous with the supply column are bounced by a massed horde of mounted savages.

The two parties of dismounted troopers prepare to sell their lives dearly.


The first undisciplined rush strikes home.

And bounces off, but more rush in.

The forward troop began to give ground, falling back to join the other troop, while repulsing multiple charges.

Broken units heading for home.

No sooner had that action ended, when Sheridans command of three troops met twice as many hostile war bands at the old chiefs camp.

Sheridan ordered two troops to mount and charge the hostiles, while the third stood form by the water hole.

The melee heats up at the camp.

The cavalry charge and charge again.

The boys from the trading post arrive and pitch in to the hostiles from behind.

Sadly, the dismounted troopers couldn't withstand the onslaught from front and both flanks, the survivors fleeing.

Sheridan's men had done enough though, saving some of the settlers, resupplying the fort and rescuing the peaceful native factions, thus buying some time before the next wave of unrest.

Apart from my strategic movement choices, I had little to do to influence the individual combats.  The hostiles won almost all initiative roles and chose to charge, so the combat results were driven by a single d6 roll.  We were amazed at Will's ability to roll 1s (not good), with almost nothing greater than a natural 3, resulting in repulse after repulse.

This was a fun game to play and the mechanics would lend itself to other colonial periods, such as the Foreign Legion in N Africa or Mexico, Colonial Africa, Russian Civil War, etc.

Thanks to Si for setting it up and providing the troops and terrain, Gary and Will for playing alongside, especially Will for rolling dice all day despite some horrendous modifiers.  Thanks to you for looking.

Sunday 22 August 2021

Blockhouse Park, Plymouth

Close to my old home in Plymouth is Blockhouse Park.  I was familiar with the layout of the old fortification visible today, but had no idea of what they represented until a recent visit, when I saw these new, to me anyway, information boards.

Described as a small artillery emplacement built in 1780 (1779 on internet) as an outer defence for Devonport Dockyard, modified in 1811 and obsolete by 1840.

The outer works, now an earthen ditch and bank, originally revetted in stone.

The view from the outer ramparts looking northwest towards the dockyard.  The fortification lies on the highest point within the city and dominates the ancient route into the city from the north, the only route not protected by deeply incised valleys floored by tidal estuaries prior to the start of the 20th Century.

The interior of the outer works.  The old earthworks were improved with brick in the 1930s in preparation for use as an anti-aircraft, searchlight and Barrage balloon site in WW2.

The western rampart.

Looking across the interior of the fort to the north, the topography is markedly less incised than the deep valleys to northwest and southeast.

Information board within the fort, showing the likely blockhouse construction within.  Probably a stone built blockhouse at ground level, with a wooden first floor.  Contemporary with similar structures built throughout North America during the French-Indian (7 Years War) and Revolutionary (American War of Independence) Wars.

Another information board showing a reconstruction of the whole site as originally built.

This was an unexpected plus, resulting from us looking for a good site to view a firework display.  As a family, we knew about the use of the site in WW2 and that it had an older history, but no idea of the 18th Cent origins and the contemporary nature of the defences with those built in North America.

Thanks for looking.

Friday 6 August 2021

Back to my roots - US Cavalry vs the locals

Last evening at Beacon Gaming Club, Will, Si and I played out a game using the "Too few to fight, too many to die" rules and some lovely Britannia miniatures (not sure they are still available from Grubby) from Si's collection.  Will and I each took a half troop (6 men) tasked with escorting a covered wagon through an arroyo complex and on to a fort on the adjacent plains.

Indigenous peoples, hereafter referred to as hostiles, in true Hollywood fashion were generated and played by Si, appearing according to a card system with diced random composition and strength.  The wagon plodded along d6 inches per turn.

Early on, Will's half troop found itself facing two groups of hostiles on the cavalry's right flank, so dismounted to face them.  The closest group attempted a charge, but stopped short, exposing themselves to some nasty volley fire.  On the left in the far distance, my cavalry have dismounted to take on another party of hostiles that have taken up a good ambush position along the arroyo walls.

My half troop slowly advancing on the hostiles and disorders on them.

Come on my lucky lads, make every shot count!

In the distance, another party of hostiles on foot appear.

Mounted hostiles approach the fort and some live to regret it.

Will has dealt with the two parties of hostiles to his front, while more warbands appear behind him (top right) and in front (left of giant hand).  Having driven off the hostiles on the arroyo wall, my half troop has mounted and is catching up with the wagon to deal with any hostiles appearing between it and the fort.

Faced with two large parties of mounted hostiles, the cavalry have all mounted and charged the enemy using pistols and sabers.  In the foreground, my half troop lost a man, but the hostiles recoiled with lots of disorder, but Will's cavalry charge swept the other group away and the shaken remnants of the group facing my half troop melted away into the dust and heat haze.

That effectively brought the hostile's efforts to intercept the wagon to an end for the day and the wagon was left to trundle into the fort, for the loss of one cavalry trooper and a few cuts and scratches.

A great game, lots of fun, quite simple mechanics easy to pick up, but when those hostile cards keep generating new contacts, there's a lot to keep the cavalry busy.  Then a run of "nothing happens" cards and the cavalry have a chance to deal with the threats.  Lots to keep the players busy and lots of touch and go moments.

As ever, thanks for looking.

Monday 2 August 2021

Beacon Gaming Club - July games

 I managed to fit in a few different games at the new club in July.

I tried out Necromunda with Mark, which was a first for me - never played any GW except Bloodbowl previously.  Interesting game and proved to be a lot of fun.  I may yet finish up buying the starter set with a couple of gangs to use as a pick up game.  Interesting to compare with Space Hulk, which I've just acquired from the collection of the late Mike Yates, and might even get to play this with my son.

Will and I also tried out Mad for War, the new 17th Century naval rules from League of Augsburg/Ark Royal Models.  Unfortunately, it's a pre-release pdf download version and there is a lot of fleshing out and explanation needed to cover all the situations we encountered in our little game.

English ships top left, Dutch ships lower right, sand bar at top.

Closing in for some action.

The Dutch open fire at longish range.

The lightest English ship grapples the nearer Dutchie, but another Dutchie collides and become entangled (rules didn't really explain how to resolve this).  Lots of shooting and boarding ended up with all three damaged and the English ship striking its colours. 

A practice game of Sharp Practice 2 ready for our Woebetides game weekend in September.  Set in a fictional island chain in the Indian Ocean during the early part of the 17th Century will see English, plus their Sepoy mercenaries, taking on French, with Spanish allies, all under the watchful eye of Arab traders and slavers and the local indigenous Weobetidus tribal peoples.

Sepoys advance past a tribal cult henge-like monument. 

Privateers, with liberated sheep advance on another tribal fetish under the watchful eye of some elite British infantry.

Indigenous Woebetides people take pot shots at the Spanish as they attempt to forage sheep and honey.

Spanish pirates with sheep in tow top left and infantry rushing off table with their pots of honey, while the Woebetides natives take pot shots at them, while another party of dastardly Spaniards advance on a sheep pen and the native sharp shooters.

Upset by the British pirates attempting to snatch the golden monkey god, a large party of spear armed natives sweep the pirates from the field - the survivors flee back to their boats.  Even the well ordered English infantry didn't halt their charge, although did kill quite a few, only to reply on a unit of Sepoys to save the day with a well-aimed volley.  Lots of fun in this game system and some nice opportunities for incorporating role play and character-specific objectives. 

Sadly, last weeks game was so interesting, I didn't take pictures.  Will brought in his War of the Spanish Succession British and French armies and we had at it using Will's home brewed rules for the period.  The British cavalry wings met with considerable success on both flanks, while the infantry on both sides slowly plodded to within musket range.  By the time they got within range, the cavalry had put the day beyond a reasonable doubt.  Wills WSS figures are beautifully painted Strelets figures from their new releases and made for a great looking table.

Some interesting games planned for August, so hope I manage to get some decent photos.

Thanks for looking.