Sunday, August 13, 2017

"New" Peter Laing Boers and C & C Tricorne

       A short time ago Jay was trying to give away some Peter Laing Boers. He approached both Wargame Miscellany and Man of Tin Blogs, both who actually mentioned me and suggested I might be interested.  I think that was very kind of Bob and Mark to pass on free (!) Peter Laings.  I am not sure I could pass up free PLs. Jay contacted me and of course I accepted his kind offer. The figures arrived and after looking at Jay's address and the PL Boers, I realized that I had seen them before. When I first started collecting PL figures, I did a Google search for them. There were few pictures of them. However, I did find the Jackson Gamers website and in it there was a Boer War game, by none other than Jay himself.  To me, getting these figures is like an Old School gamer getting some Donald Featherstone or Charles Grant figures. Of course, now I find myself deciding if I will leave these figures as is, or painting them. Thank you Jay for these fine figures, I hope to put them to good use. And as often as I use myPL Boers, they should see plenty of action.

     The Boers are mounted on metal squares, which I believe were used for cardboard wargame pieces from boardgames. There are good, as the pictures below will show. Jay made small trays with magnetic tape on the bottom, making these an excellent way to transport figures. When I first started gaming, one reason I used washers were to mount the figures on magnetic movement trays. I gradually moved away from movement trays, but stuck with the washers, a necessity with PL small bases. However, I started buying cheaper washers that will not work on magnetic trays.

   After reading some of Man of Tin blogs, I started mounting my figures on plastic squares. The figures do not tip over as easily in squares. I find the PL Boers are on squares larger than I like, but they still fit nicely on Heroscape terrain and my homemade squares game board.  This has me rethinking the way I am going forward with mounting my figures.

    My last posting I mentioned that the new Richard Borg game, Command & Colors Tricorne is coming out soon. And as mentioned, the new dice have two retreat flags on each dice. When I bought Battle Cry, I also bought some custom Battle Cry wood dice. As I have 30 of them, I repainted 4 with the new C&C Tricorne configuration. I also went to Compass Games website. On it they actually have the rules, (which I still don't understand). I printed out the units cheat sheet, and using this and Stronghold Rebuilt "See the Elephant" rules, and breaking out my first generation AWI Minifigs, fought a practice game.  The new dice seem to have lots of promise; the game certainly isn't as bloody as some games I've played. It also has me thinking of rebasing my AWI figures to squares. After reading a Man of Tin blog where he said that besides marking the unit on the bottom of the base, but also their "Battle Honors", I have wanted to go back to organizing my toy soldiers into units.
My "new" Peter Laing Boers that Jay kindly gave me.

A unit of Boers with the metal bases mentioned in dispatches. They do fit nicely on my terrain pieces.

Three of my homemade C&C Tricorne dice.

The American army on the left is made up of three regular infantry, two Provincial infantry, and one artillery units. The British have three regular infantry, two artillery, and one Dragoon units.

The 24th Foot pushes back the 12th Continentals.

Between the 12th Cont. and artillery, the 24th is forced to retreat.

The 10th Regiment attacks a unit of Provincials.

The Provincials lose half their men, but still stands their ground. 

At the top of the picture the British infantry closes on a Continental regiment. The Dragoons are quickly advancing.

The 10th destroys the Provincial unit.

The Continental infantry at the top of the photo closes in for melee with the regulars...

....and pushes them back. Meanwhile, the 10th is fired on.

The 10th continues to advance and the Dragoons hits the infantry in the flank.

The Dragoons force the infantry to retreat and in the pursue kills one man. Meanwhile the 10th  causes 50% casualties  to the 8th Massachusetts.

The American right charges forward.

The regulars suffer more casualties.

The Dragoons charge the last Provincial unit.

With the C&C Tricorne rules, Provincial units must retreat two squares for every flag.   As they couldn't retreat two squares, they lost two men.  However, in this situation,  should the whole unit have been lost? I had the unit fall back one and the lost two men. In this game I used my AWI militia as Provincials. In C&C Tricorne, Militia units must retreat 3 hexes for every flag. For this test game, I didn't want the Americans to be too weak.

However, the subject is moot. The Dragoons on their follow up killed the last infantryman and forced the general to retreat.

While the Dragoons were attacking, the 10th and 24th force the American right back.

The American right counterattacked.

The 8th Massachusetts attacks the 10th and forced them back 2 squares.

While the American right was having success, the leftmost infantry was attack by both the Dragoons and regular infantry.

The combined attack overwhelms the infantry. The 24th eliminates the 12th Continentals. The Americans below 50% and lose the battle.

    After this game I want to rebase my Minifigs AWI figures onto square bases, so I can mark the units on the stands. In the past when I have superglued figures to washers, and it was easy enough to separate the washers from the figures. I tried to remove the washers from these figures, without success. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

On Retreats in Wargames

    If you check in here on occasion, you will have noticed that I haven't posted much in a while. Personal problems and lack of time is part of it; also I just can't get motivated to do any gaming.  I still check several wargames blogs daily; it has been a couple of weeks since I checked out my own, if only to see the activity it is producing.  I don't know if that's a bad sign. I do hope to maybe have some news on some figures in the near future.

     I mainly go to Facebook to visit groups that I belong to. One is a Command & Colors Napoleonic group. On it someone mentioned that the much anticipated C & C Tricorne is about to be released. They also provided a picture from Compass Games website, showing a page from the rules. What caught my eye was that the dice will only have one "infantry" side, but two "retreat" sides.
This has me thinking of trying games with two retreat sides to it.

     As I have mentioned before, as a solo gamer I believe rules used should have some kind of automatic retreats beyond the gamers control. Before finding rules with retreats factored into them, I had the "Hitler Complex", troops cannot retreat; they must hold the ground at all costs.  When I first started playing games with automatic retreats, I found myself ready to give up on them. Eventually I convinced myself that I was playing the roll of general, not the individual unit commanders, and that units will break and run, no matter what the general wants. The first retreat rules I used were Donald Featherstone morale rules, along with Junior General morale rules. I remember a time  having an AWI wargame using the Junior General rules. The American general spent the entire game racing back and forth across the battlefield, rallying his different regiments that broke at the littlest losses.

    When I found Chris Salander's Horse & Musket 2.0 rules in MWAN # 102, it changed my gaming forever. Although not the perfect set of rules (they were designed as a starter set), the automatic retreat in the rules simplified retreats in my games. In the game each figure has a dice roll, and a 'retreat' roll affects an individual piece, not the entire unit. One good thing about H&M 2.0 is that you could convert the rules for other periods. With the avant of Richard Borg's Command & Colors system, for me his retreat rules and dice have rekindled a flagging interest in wargames.

Extreme results from dice rolls; a unit pushed to the edge of the board. Rolls like this can prove disastrous to one's battle plan.

A successful cavalry charge.

The retreating cavalry outruns their pursuers. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Chessboard Wargaming: Full Circle

      On 4th of July I watched the miniseries; "The Hatfields & McCoys", based on the famous feud from the 1800's. After that I read the book,: "The Feud"by Dean King.  Once again the true story was even more interesting than the movie. What was truly interesting is that the feud almost lead to armed conflict between the states of Kentucky and West Virginia. After reading about the troubles between the two states, it struck me as a good scenario for wargaming.

   As we are preparing to go camping again, I wanted to get a game or two in before leaving. I decided to use my Peter Laing Boer figures for the game. To me these figures have the look that the feuding families would have looked like. I tried a few ideas using different rules. As I  wanted the figures to represent individuals, my attempts at using Battle Cry and See the Elephant rules weren't working.  In the end I went back to Chris Salander's Horse & Musket 2.0. Once again proving that these rules work well for skirmish gaming. I scattered terrain on my new tiled board. The sides the troops came on were randomly picked.  I did roll average dice to decide how many squares of figures could move in a turn, along with who moved first.   I wasn't even going to report on this, but the game proved most enjoyable.  I realized I am back to where my wargaming started 18 years ago when I originally found these rules and pulled out my old Minifigs and Heritage figures and started to play games in earnest.
I started taking photographs about half way through the game. The red average dice shows that the troops on the left can move three squares of figures.

The red troops are losing men and ground.

The black troops break though the reds center; two red soldiers retreat.

The black army wins. I do wish I could get my hands on more of these Peter Laing Boers. One of my biggest mistakes were trading some of my Boer figures, especially horsemen, when I first started collecting Peter Laing figures. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Troops for Backyard Wars

       I have been looking for the ideal figures for wargaming outside. I found that Britains Herald Guards figures in the prone position was a good figure for what I was looking for. No need to worry about him standing in rough terrain. Even with the dog running around the yard, he didn't disrupt the figures if he ran over them.  Also, I just like the look of them, wearing dress uniforms with bearskins. They definitely have the look of toy soldiers. I recently bought 20 of these figures, and with the 6 I already have, this should be enough for some outside skirmishes. I've started painting the "blue" army. My next goal is to find the rules to use with these figures.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Peter Laings and Playing Board

         I have not posted in a while, simply because I have done much with the hobby in the last couple of months.

       I did get a rather large lot of Peter Laing Egyptians. I no have several units of archers for my Egyptian army. I also have enough to make a Nubian army.

       I also have been toying with the idea of a chessboard with removable squares, where different pieces of landscape could be swopped out. I found some good sized wooden square tiles that would work well, so I ordered 90. My original plan was to use both sides, such as Battle Cry and Command & Colors does with their tiles. However, the idea of pulling up all the tiles to find the right pieces might not work as easily as I thought. So I have made a few river tiles and am working on some plowed field tiles. As the project is just starting, there is some experimentation going on right now.
Some of the new Peter Laing Egyptians being prepared to be repainted.

My new "chessboard" game board. I was originally going to paint the tiles to hide the wood grain. However, I think it give the feel of being plowed fields.

The board set up for it's first game. The are two hill tiles on the board. I believe I will paint the edges dark green so hopefully they will stand out more.

The board with a river running through it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Travel Battle Miniatures

    I checked on the Perry Miniatures website. They have released the different plastic components from Travel Battle for individual sale. The figures are molded in grey instead of either blue or red. The stands for the figures are sold separately; just something to keep in mind if you are going to order them. They have also released the boards and houses for sale separately. I am thinking of ordering some for use with other wargame rules. Using Battle Cry units, an infantry unit would consist of 40 infantrymen, and a cavalry unit 9 figures. I think that could look quite impressive on a small wargame board.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Antietam Battlefield and a Sad Farewell

    My wife and I were invited down to Maryland for our grand nephew's graduation from High School. His mother passed away a little over a year ago. My wife and her niece were very close, so we took the week off to go. Besides his graduation, his father retired from the Aberdeen Police Department after 26 years service.  As his son plans to join the Air Force, Larry has decided to move back to Mississippi to be close to his family. In the years we visited them, I came to love the area. And while there I would visit a bookstore in Havre De Grace that was mainly a history with a very large military history section.  When I went to visit it this time, the store was no longer there. The building was completely empty, not even any bookcases. At that point the finality of my time visiting Maryland hit me.

    I did tell my wife that one day I was going to visit the Antietam battlefield. When we did go, besides Donna, Larry, his son, and another grand nephew came along.  When we arrived, the first thing that struck me is the undulating ground of the entire battlefield. It makes it quite easy to realize why the battle tended to have units blundering into each other. Also, it is easy to see that commanding an army on this ground would be extremely difficult to control. Of course, the fact of how far McClellan's HQ was from the field itself wouldn't help the matter.
The Dunker Church. This is a replacement; the original blew down during a storm in 1921.

The line where 1st Corps lined up on at the start of the battle.

"The Cornfield" from where the Union troops would have entered it from.

The Pennsylvania monument in the West Woods. Larry stands at the base of it.

The ground the 2nd Corps crossed when approaching "the Sunken Road". Between the two trees can be seen a black line. That is the fence line delineating  the Sunken Road.

The Sunken Road. The photo doesn't do justice to what a great defense line this was.  The road  is about five feet deep.  The left side of the road is the direction the Union troops came in from.

The Burnside Bridge, from the Confederates vantage point.

Donna stands at the end of the bridge. You can see the ridge line the Confederates  fired from in the background. The bridge is wide enough for 4 men to cross abreast.

Unfortunately I forgot to bring my good camera and had to use my cellphone to take the pictures.

Larry is a big history buff, and I got to play tour guide filling him in with "interesting information". He seemed to be totally engrossed in the entire story of Antietam; unfortunately everyone else lost interest once they realized they were going to be looking at pretty landscape, and not seeing a reenactment.They spent the time playing on their cellphones!