Saturday, May 23, 2015

TF North History Club game

Hi to all. Here I believe is a first for me. Two posts so close together.
This is about a game we put on for Thornton Fractional North High School's History Club. This club is led by history teacher Bill Weber who is also the coach of the schools chess team.

We have in the past run miniatures games for the students to provide a hands on experiences that give a visual connection to their text books, let's them have fun playing with toys that they are not normally exposed to and to think independently and develop leadership skills. The school graciously provide the venue for our game on Saturday and the students provide their enthusiasm.

This game was a first for me in that I was finally able to use my Northwest Frontier figures for the Second Afghan War that I have been working on for over 5 years. Also I got to use some terrain that I have recently built specifically for this period. We used the fun and fast Sword and the Flame rules that I find are easy for new players to grasp and are convenient for those teaching new players a game.

The scenario was a British / East Indian patrol had set up a heliograph post on a hill at one end of a nameless Afghan valley and a patrol of mixed troops were to come down the valley to pick them up and escort them back out. Their Afghan adversaries though had other plans for the escort and the post on the hill.

We had a large number of students show up for the game which is great and always exciting but it put a little strain on the number of figures each student was able to control. Never the less we managed to get this all sorted out and everyone seemed to be pleased with their command. Besides it always seems that one or two students come and go during the game due to outside commitments.

Below are pictures of the two sets of players and their forces.

The British team - Command - 4 mounted officers, heliograph team
                            1 company of Highlanders with bagpiper and drummer (total of 22 soldiers)
                            2 companies of East Indian troops (20 soldiers each)
                            2 Field guns and crews (4 each)
                            2 squadrons of Lancers (12 troopers each)
                            1 heliograph patrol (10 Guides soldiers 3 officers and 1 heliograph team)
 The Afghan team - 10 Afghan hill clans (20 clansmen each)
                                1 Leader (3 mounted figures)

Here is the game set up.

The Afghan players were allowed to have hidden deployment and I let them leave their troops on the table to distract the British players while the red markers were possible points of entry for the Afghan units. This worked out pretty good in that it minimized the movement of pricey figures by novice players on and off the table. It also saved a considerable amount of time. I must say that the Afghan team was adept at deploying their forces and took the British completely by surprise by ambushing them at the very start of the game.

Above you can see the British forces reacting to the ambush. There are no less than 5 units of Afghans attacking the flanks and rear of the British column. The British in response have deployed their cavalry and artillery to address this threat. Unfortunately both sides payed heavily in loss of men. Eventually the British were able to drive off the attacks but not until they lost a field piece to the enemy and had suffered harsh losses. The Afghans were a tenacious bunch and gave the British what for. Eventually though they had to relinquish control of the captured gun back to it's original owners.

Meanwhile at the head of the column the British were deploying to address multiple threats from the surrounding hills and to their immediate front.

In this picture below you can see, in the lower right corner, the heliograph post coming under attack by forces double theirs! Their officers were exceptionally effective blazing away with pistols at close range and inflicting no less than 6 casualties during the course of two fire phases.

We decided to call the game after turn five. At this point it was still a close game but it definitely was turning to the Afghan players favor. The British were suffering far too many casualties to continue much longer but the Afghans were only slightly better off. It could have been a different outcome but the Afghan players were extremely fortunate in making a number of crucial moral rolls during all parts of the game. 

So it was decided that the Afghans had given the British a good bloody nose! They also were able to capture a few good rifles, almost took home a modern field piece and might have gotten some horses if the game had gone on much longer. This in no way detracts from the British players handling of their troops. They were able to recover from a devastating ambush and inflict a high number of casualties on the Afghans.

So here are the students at the end of the game.

I as the creator of the scenario was somewhat disappointed that no one used or even hardly considered using the marvelous and crafty hill fort I had spent days on making. Oh well another ego burst. One can never predict what the players will do.

Good gaming to all and as always comments good and bad are welcome. Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Carthage invades Spain!

Hello to all gamers and guests. This post is about three weeks late but here we go.
Mike started his campaign season with a spectacular game of Carthage vs Spain. As always the figures were outstanding and plentiful and the rules were Tactica. Our version of course since I seriously doubt that we will see Tactica II in our lifetime.

We had a great turnout with the following players:
As the defenders of Spain - Ken the greater as their leader and general, Jamie, Tyler  and two new players Brent and his son Logan.
As the invaders from Carthage - Bill our fearless leader, Mike, Wendel and myself.

Since we love to play around with the rules and tinker, we decided to try something the has been floating around in our heads for a while. We wanted to see if cavalry and light infantry could break through a battle line in the center and roll up to either flank. This tactic was agreed upon by all of the Carthaginian players and is reflected in our initial set up.

 Here are some pictures of our valiant heavy cavalry just before their historic charge.

 Below you can see our set up with the heavy cavalry leading the attack supported by copious light infantry to either side and the heavy infantry following close behind.

 Unfortunately this plan didn't work as well as the concept sounded. I bungled the use of the light infantry as I was too eager to get into combat. Oh yes this was my plan and I executed it clumsily. Well don;t cry over spilt wine. The cavalry and light infantry did make some minor dents in the Spanish line but all 4 units vaporized in two turns. 48 heavy cavalry and 48 light infantry devastated by 72 medium infantry.

None the less this cleared the way for the Carthaginian heavy infantry to advance. The Spanish though were not just sitting idly by. They had placed the major portion of their cavalry on their left flank with the plan of crushing our right. Facing this massive horde of Spanish horse flesh was one light cavalry unit and two heavy infantry units. The Carthaginians (Wendel and Bill) deftly handled these units to stop the Spanish long enough to allow our heavy infantry to close with the Spanish medium infantry.

 On the Spanish right, Brent and Logan intended to use a unit of light cavalry and some medium infantry to try and force the Carthaginian left. This eventually worked but again Wendel managed to hold them off long enough to get most of our heavy infantry past the flanking forces.

The flanking actions eventually worked but only briefly. Had they lasted longer this game would have been a cake walk.

Meanwhile in the center the battle was raging! The Carthaginian heavy infantry collided with the Spanish medium infantry and it was a battle of numbers vs quality. While exchanging casualties in fairly even amounts, the Spanish were slowly wearing down the Carthaginians and turning both flanks! Carthage (Mike and Bill) was between a rock and a hard place. Spain (Ken Jamie and Tyler) were relentlessly pounding away at the heavy infantry in front of them.

 After consulting with his generals and a heartfelt promise to the Gods, Mike came back to the fight with a vengeance and rolled a series of attacks that were historic! Trouncing his adversaries left and right, Mike saved the day for Carthage smashing the Spanish line.

All in all another great game with much bantering and camaraderie enjoyed by all. Thanks to Mike for hosting this great game and again allowing us to play with his wonderful toys.

Some of our gang.


 Logan, Brent, Tyler and Ken
 More or parts of the same but there is Jamie with his arms folded
 Wendel Bill and myself

 Thanks to all who help to make this such a fascinating hobby and stop by to partake of our adventures. And thanks again to our group of gamers for all being great sports and great gamers.

Take care and roll well!