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  • in reply to: Reveille 2023, Bristol, 26/11/23 #192948
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Guy, I am sorry I missed you on Sunday. I hope my thoughts were on the games I’d seen rather than the prospect of a lamburger for lunch. Reveille is good, but the Penarth show is sorely missed.

    I agree the ‘Gustavus’ game was impressive. Like you, I admired the dedication to produce all those figures, and the resulting game, but know it isn’t something I could attempt. My impression was that the rules being used provided interesting options at that scale – not just move the elements and roll dice, but not a skirmish either.

    I’ve struggled with 30YW rules and I’m glad you have found that ‘Twilight..’ work for you. Somehow, they didn’t gell for me but that is probably my lack of understanding. I’m currently using Baroque or For King and Parliament for 30YW, but I recall you said you didn’t like grid-based games. The way Swedish Brigades behave always seem to be a problem. At least Steve avoided that by concentrating on a clash of horse. Have you been to Lutzen? It is a very flat battlefield, so a wargame table reproduces it well!

    I can only hoe I’ll be more observant next time we’re both at a show, and we have time to chat. Best wishes

    RogerC

    in reply to: landwehr shakos #183710
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    In his 2011 book, ‘Prussian Napoleonic Landwehr Infantry and Cavalry 1813-1815’, Dr. Stephen Summerfield gives uniform details for many, but by no means all, Landwehr units.

    The only Landwehr infantry which are given as having a British shako are the 2nd and 17th Silesian infantry. However, a complication is that the original 2nd regiment was disbanded in January 1814, and the 17th renumbered as the 2nd. It isn’t clear whether both regiments had a British shako prior to 1814, or only the renumbered regiment. it thus appears that it was rare for Landwehr infantry to have British shakos, and possibly only one infantry regiment used them. British shakos seem more common in the Reserve regiments.

    The book also says that the 1st and 2nd Kurmark Landwehr cavalry and the 2nd to 4th squadrons of the 2nd Neumark Landwehr cavalry used a British ‘light infantry’ shako.

    RogerC

    in reply to: PAW2023 first photos #183043
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Thanks Guy – yes, all well here. I hope you too are getting on fine.

    It is sad the Crusade show is no more, although I was in Cardiff last month for the annual To the Strongest! tournament. It is a pity you aren’t keen on gridded games. Other shows seem to be getting further away, or maybe that’s just me being more reluctant to have a long drive.

    All the best

    RogerC

    in reply to: PAW2023 first photos #183028
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Yes Guy, that was a chap with a raven on his (well-gloved) hand. I didn’t find out why he’d brought it, but it was a bit scary close-up. Mind you, I suppose a goshawk or similar bird of prey would have been even scarier in an enclosed hall.

    Surprising what you can see at a Wargame show!

    RogerC

    in reply to: PAW 4th/5th February 2023 #183014
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Hi wills,

    It was good to talk to you today, and I liked your Mollwitz game. It had a good ‘traditional’ feel, and the players writing orders each turn took me back to some of my earliest wargames. I presume the Prussians eventually triumphed, as they usually do in Mollwitz games?

    There were other good games and traders, so I enjoyed my first visit to the PAW show. Just a bit far for me to drive!

    RogerC

    in reply to: To the Strongest – typical army size #163505
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    In points terms, 130 points is a good place to start. That has been the size used for many TtS! tournaments, and generally allows an army to be strong somewhere along the line, but not everywhere.

    You can readily go up to 150 points, particularly if you have ‘expensive’ units like knights or veteran Roman legionaries. Over 150 points, it is likely the armies will be strong everywhere, and the games on a 12×8 box table may be too attritional. Also, if you are using the army lists, they will start to break down, in terms of maxima/minima, over 150 points or so.

    I hope you enjoy TtS!, if you try it. I think it is a very good game, although I know the grids put some off. If you don’t like using playing cards, chits or even D10s can readily be used and may be less intrusive.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Reasons NOT to refight historical battles #163137
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    One more factor in playing historical battles is that most such battles are b***** big. That means there has to be a large degree of abstraction, unless you want to play on a tennis court area for a week. The game ‘units’ are brigades or divisions, or whatever the appropriate terminology is for the era involved. That may be fine if you are happy with that level of abstraction, but it is a restriction on the style of game.

    For a lower level game, where the units are battalions, companies, or whatever, I know it is possible to play a part of a historical battle, but I think it is then even harder to devise something worthwhile for both sides, without one or the other wanting the game situation to be influenced by the larger setting. If La Haye Sainte is about to be taken by the French, wouldn’t additional units on the Mont St. Jean ridge become involved, and then wouldn’t the French .. etc. Hence, wanting to play at that lower level may then make the game more likely to be a tabletop teaser, or tournament-style, as the ‘boundary’ conditions are then wholly defined by the scenario. Nearly all my games are at that level, and I still see them as ‘historical’, for the reasons Guy said, but realise that the basis in history can get somewhat tenuous.

    I also wonder how far one can go ‘varying the ‘players’ decisions’ in a historical battle situation before the battle bears no relationship to the historical one. Assuming the players know the historical battle, it is likely that they will want to do something different, particularly if they are playing the losing side. Would anyone send the Allied columns off to the south-west at Austerlitz, or attack the heights at Fredericksburg, knowing what then happened historically, if the game allowed them to make a different decision? If they made a different decision, would they still be playing the battle of Austerlitz or Fredericksburg? On the other hand, once you start to constrain the ‘allowable’ decisions, where do you stop before the game becomes a moving diorama? ‘It could have happened but didn’t’ scenarios avoid those issues as well.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Why Wargamers Game #161083
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Guy, I wonder if the correlation of ‘openness’ with competition at least partly arises because the classification system was based on video gaming, where solo play is common. I know there are many wargamers who play mostly or entirely solo, due to force of circumstances, but a wargamer who chooses to play solo, despite having opportunities to play face to face, could be considered less ‘open’ than a wargamer who attends competitions/tournaments.

    Even the somewhat odd-sounding ‘smarty-pants’ may derive from a claim that playing the game teaches you something beyond the game itself. What would you say about someone who claims that, because they are good at wargaming, they would be a good general in real life? Also, I generally play games set in periods of history in which I have an interest. The times I have played games set in periods I know little about, I’m not sure I’ve learned much about the period, beyond how the rules play and what the troops may have looked like.

    Competitions/tournaments, and those who play in them, tend to get a bad press. In the decade or so before lockdown, I went to 2-4 tournaments a year and enjoyed them all. I got to play with a much wider range of people, and armies, than I ever could have done in a club or social setting. Whilst playing 3 or 4 games in a day may be more a more intense experience than some people want in their games, most players are there to have a good time. Yes, there have been some ‘difficult’ opponents, but I have encountered similar people in other gaming settings as well. I can also see that some tournaments use rules that are more likely to attract those for whom winning, rather than taking part, is the main reason they are there, but again the same would probably be true of those rules in a club setting.

    Given the wide range of reasons why people play wargames, and the sort of games they play, any attempt to classify wargamers into a small set of categories seems bound to produce as many exceptions as it does useful insights.

    RogerC

    in reply to: 6mm Sengoku Jidai #149638
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Yes, fantastic figures and interesting rules; thank you for letting us know about them. Hope the sake was good – a cup or two, suitably warmed, suits the time of year.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Austrian Chevaulegeres vs dragoons? #147265
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Jemima, I think it is 1, 2 4 and (later) 7th chevau-leger in green coats, and 3 5 and 6th in white. At least, that’s what your website says, so must be right! (It also matches other sources).

    As to roles, they seem to vary. Chevau-leger are almost always in light brigades/divisions but you can find dragoons in light brigades/divisions and in reserve divisions, depending on campaign and the whims of the commanders. The Austrians weren’t good at consistency.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Austrian Chevaulegeres vs dragoons? #147252
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I too had seen the mention of the 1802 change. On the other hand, I have not seen any image of a post-1802 Austrian chevau-leger with a sword curved to a similar degree to the Hussar sabre. All the images I have seen have them with a straight sword. Of course, many of those images are modern ones, so may simply be perpetuating a mistake. However, if a curved sabre had been common, I would have expected at least some images to show it. The Perry figures are just following what seems to be the common chevau-leger image

    Whilst the Osprey books are not always reliable, I see that the one on Austrian cavalry says, when referring to cuirassiers, dragoons and chevau-leger, ‘An improved sabre was introduced in 1802, largely like the previous Pallasch, with iron scabbards for all ranks’. Since ‘sabre’ is often used for any cavalry sword, I wonder if someone has seen the reference to a sabre change, and assumed that was a change to a curved sword, rather than a redesign of a straight sword.

    The only difference between Austrian dragoons and chevau-leger that seems consistently referred to is the slight difference in horse harness that gave a ‘cross’ across the face for chevau-leger horses. I have also seen it suggested that chevau-leger had shorter boots, but since the boots are always covered by overalls, I can’t think of a way of proving that, one way or the other.

    RogerC

    in reply to: The end times are nigh – or are they? #130348
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I wonder if the current trend of skirmish games isn’t helping here. Mike, you do ‘15mm desert fantasy skirmish’. If I buy enough to play a few games, am I likely to buy more to expand, or am I equally likely to go for ‘28mm jungle Mayan skirmish’ or whatever looks interesting at the time? Since I don’t need many figures/terrain pieces/etc. for a game, it is easy to switch to something entirely different. If, on the other hand, I’ve put together lots of figures for a large Napoleonic (or whatever) game, I’m probably more likely to want to expand what I’ve got, rather than change to something new. Of course, I can get new figures from another manufacturer, but I’m less likely to do that if I’m planning to use the new figures with the old, rather than playing a completely different game.

    I fully understand (it has been discussed here in several threads) the reasons why skirmish games are more popular – time, space, cost, variety. I agree that the hobby is evolving, which can look like dying out only if you aren’t evolving with it. However, the easier it is for someone to switch the type of games they play, the harder it is for a small trader to establish a loyal customer base.

    I don’t have any solutions. I suspect I’m one of those being left behind by the changes, but that doesn’t worry me whilst I can still play the games I like. As I get older, I’m being left behind more and more anyway. It just seems desperately hard for a trader to maintain a business when there is so much to tempt people to move rapidly from one thing to another.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Crusade 2020, Penarth #130325
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I agree it was a grand day out, provided you stayed indoors. I thought Crusade was a bit quieter than usual, but maybe I missed the busiest time.

    It was good to see Guy again, and several other friends. Perhaps it is a sign of age, but the shows I enjoy most are now those where I can chat to people I don’t see often, rather than those where I acquire lots of goodies. I’ve never been able to reach the size or standard of the demo games (and there were some excellent ones at Crusade), so they can impress me without triggering an urge to try something similar. I only bought the few things I needed for existing projects (an approach which I realise isn’t good for the traders), although it was good to collect some (painted) figures from Matt Slade, which I will get to use soon.

    Like Guy, I greatly enjoyed Rob Jones’ latest take on medieval warfare, to show that it is possible to make an interesting game without straying too far from historical behaviour. The idea that you could have a massed battle driven by personalities rather than ‘unit types’ seemed to work well. I hope Rob’s rules will be released more widely. I can see a ready applicability to Japanese Sengoku era warfare, which currently tends to appear only as skirmish games.

    So thanks to all at the Penarth club for staging the event once again, and I’ll look forward to next year.

    RogerC

    in reply to: The Pre-Game Game #125414
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    For me, any interest starts with the historical period (I rarely move outside my comfort zone of historical gaming). If I’m not interested in a period, neither figures nor rules will tempt me.

    If I’ve decided I want to game in a new period (increasingly rare as I get older!), finding suitable rules for what I want to do comes next. I have used proxies, card cut-outs, or persuaded friends to play games with their figures using a ruleset I think will give the game I’m looking for. Only when I think I’ve found a suitable ruleset will I start getting figures. The figures are going to be the main outlay, in money or time. Of course, sometimes I think I’ve found the right ruleset, bought the figures, then decided that the games aren’t giving me what I hoped for, but since I’m interested in the period (my starting point), I just have to go back to the rules search.

    I think it is interesting to see how many voices in this thread put last the decision about rules. I can understand the thought that rules are ‘transient’ but I couldn’t imagine putting in all the effort to assemble armies, if I didn’t have a very good idea how they were going to be used.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Is your preferred scale.. #125411
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Overall, I think the Internet (including this and other forums) has vastly increased the representation of almost every scale.

    20+ years ago, when I was doing 6mm Napoleonics, there was almost no visible representation of that scale in magazines, shows and other media then available. It felt as if I was doing something unique, even though the existence of the figures indicated there must be others out there doing something similar. Now, I can find representations of any scale, and almost any period or genre, relatively easily. My ‘preferred’ scale (actually different scales for different things) is influenced by the greater availability of examples and information that the internet provides. I don’t expect any source to provide ‘only’ what I’m interested in.

    I’m not troubled by the concentration on 28mm in magazines and at shows. Magazines generally want lots of pretty pictures, particularly close-ups, and it is easier to get suitable images with 28mm than with smaller scales. Similarly, I think it is easier to make an impressive demo at a show with 28mm figures. Many demos of smaller scales, which would look amazing in a ‘domestic’ setting, are a bit lost in the large venues where many shows are held. If I see a demo that inspires me, I know that I’d be operating in a smaller area, and can decide for myself whether I could do it in a smaller scale and be happy, or could adjust the game to the available area, if I wanted to keep to the same scale. Again, the internet would be helpful when considering either option.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Nightfall #119902
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I’m glad your ideas worked for your game. I’ve found it surprisingly difficult to find out what happened at nightfall in multi-day battles.

    Before the 20th Century, multi-way battles seem very rare, particularly if you discount those where the ‘first day’ (usually only the first evening) involves an outpost of one side being driven back to its main line by an enemy adopting its battle positions for the next day. As you say, there were no two day ECW battles, and very few in the 30 Years War. Nordlingen may be one example, although I’ve found it hard to determine how much of each army at Nordlingen was committed on the first evening. For wars earlier than the ECW/30YW there aren’t many examples either. The 19th Century has more (I think of Wagram, Dresden, Bautzen & Leipzig), but they were all extremely big battles, where one or both sides expected reinforcements to arrive for the second day. Battles where two armies fought for a day, stepped back overnight, and then resumed fighting with just the same troops seem as rare as hen’s teeth.

    Even where a battle lasted two days, the amount of information about what happened at nightfall is usually minimal. Certainly, melees carried on into darkness, although maybe they resolved more quickly, as one side or the other decided they couldn’t prevail. Otherwise, reports just talk about troops ‘falling back’ or ‘regrouping’. The decision to stand or fall back seems to decided for relatively large forces, so brigades or divisions, not individual units, and based on whether the force had achieved its objective or not. So troops held villages, hills, and other strongpoints, and the other side regrouped. A key thing seems to be that the victors of such night melees don’t follow-up, if only because they can’t see what the might then encounter.So Generally similar to what you did, Ochoin, although maybe determined for larger bodies of troops, and with a few more types of features, such as hills, being held overnight.

    In view of the rarity of two day battles, and the lack of information about what happened, I guess it isn’t surprising that withdrawals at nightfall in preparation for a second day are not well handled in wargame rules. You did well to come up with a reasonable system.

    RogerC

    in reply to: UK Ancients – Popularity #115476
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I think that, so far, all the ‘To the Strongest!’ tournaments have been 25/28mm. The grid system allows large bases which can hold a reasonable number of such figures.

    As with DBX, the rules themselves are scale agnostic, so I expect the use of 25/28mm figures has been driven by the preferences of those organising the tournaments. It would certainly be possible to use other sizes, including 6mm, and the grid size could be adjusted accordingly for larger or smaller tables. It wouldn’t be impossible to have different sizes in the same tournament, although that would look very odd and I doubt anyone will want to attempt it.

    RogerC

    in reply to: With whom do you game? #113359
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Most of my games are with a small group of friends, at one or other of our homes, or at a club.

    However, I also take part in tournaments, which seem to be anathema to most who have commented in this thread. Tournaments offer me the chance to play against a wider range of opponents than usual, with rules I like to play. I know the playing style of the people I play regularly; new opponents offer new challenges and give me new ideas. Yes, tournament games tend to have a structure (points-based armies, one player v one player) that some may not like. And yes, occasionally there are people who are too intense, but the are very much a minority. I would be happy to play regularly with nearly all the people I’ve played against in a tournament setting. The type of game being played may also make a difference; the ones I’ve plsyed in tournaments (Impetus, To the Strongest!) both have a high unpredictability factor, which may discourage ‘power-gaming’.

    Perhaps I am influenced by the fact that most of the ‘social’ games I play are close in format to tournament style games. Limits on available time, the fact that most games are one-on-one etc., influence the choices. Whilst we can and do play scenarios, they are, perhaps, more balanced than typical. I have never fancied those games where your force will inevitably be destroyed, and it is just a case of trying to last out longer than average, but I know others like that challenge. Unlike some here, very few of my games involve multiple players on each side. Getting several people together seems hard, but playing a one-on-one with one friend one evening, and another one-on-one with another friend an afternoon or two later, is easier to plan, when everybody has other commitments. I guess it is easier to have multi-player games once you have a group who meet regularly, but it must be hard to start that up, particularly outside a club or similar format.

    I’m surprised how many people say they wouldn’t want to go to a club. My limited experience is that clubs are very varied in character, and if you don’t fit in one, there may be another that is just right. You may have to travel a bit! Again, it may matter whether the club games are multi-player or one-on-one, if there is someone there that you just can’t get on with. And clubs change as people come and go.

    In the end, if you are enjoying the games you play, then all is well for you. If you are short of opponents, tournaments and clubs may just enable you to find others who you get on with. Agreeing on rule sets to use is sometimes more difficult than finding compatible opponents, but that is another story.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Units or Mobs? #108714
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Thank you, Guy, for a very good and complete summary of Rob Jones’s talk, and the problems of translating mediaeval battles to the wargame table. I fear you may be right that it is difficult to make a good game that keeps close to history. Mind you, probably the same is true for lots of other periods. I suspect I have far more control over my Ancients troops than any general could ever hope to have.

    For samurai, the idea of ‘mobs’ seems strong, if you look at any of the battle depictions (and there is a question how representative they are, of course). There tends to be just a scrum of men, with all possible weapons mixed together. In general, there is very little other information available (particularly in English) that goes beyond identification of clan leaders and the approximate size of the force they led. That chimes with Rob Jones’s comments about mediaeval sources not telling us what we (as gamers) want to know.

    On the Renaissance part of this forum, Usagitsuki has posted his use of adapted boardgame rules to play samurai battles. https://www.thewargameswebsite.com/forums/topic/6mm-sengoku-jidai-game/ The game has blocks of troops with varying shooting/elan/mass values representing different mixes of missile troops, samurai and ashigaru (spear or pike armed). Effectively, each block is a mob, with the troops in the mob varying somewhat depending on their clan origin. The game itself seems to provide interest by the way the order system works, which probably isn’t appropriate for mediaeval games. The origin in a boardgame also means it uses a grid, which I know you have said you don’t like. But at least it is a step away from ‘units’ characterised by their armour and weapons.

    Best of luck with your attempts to find a way of making mob fights interesting.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Ancients rules observations… #108710
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    That is a good summary from Who Asked This Joker. The reasons why people like or dislike different rules are very variable.

    Impetus – I used to play Impetus and Basic Impetus a lot, and am currently waiting for my copy of Impetus 2. I always enjoyed the games I played. However, if you found Basic Impetus 2 fiddly, I think you will probably find a similar effect in ‘full’ Impetus. The full version has more options, but the basic ‘engine’ is the same and I understand that some of the ideas that were new in Basic Impetus 2 have found their way to Impetus 2. Personally, I liked the auto morale pass/fail, as it meant you could never be certain of the outcome, no matter how strong or weak your unit was. Also, I see the missile variety as a way of adjusting the basic unit stats, which are primarily for melee, to give suitable shooting results. To my mind, if Impetus has a weakness it is that the way activations work, unit by unit, can result in a very fragmented battle.

    Lost Battles – I have the rules but have never played them. It is gridded, but with larger grids than To The Strongest! (TtS!). It is my fault, I’m sure, but I didn’t find them easy to understand, with lots of conditions and modifiers.

    Age of Hannibal – I do not have the rules but have seen the video and read the concerns about base shape. They seem to be rules that use a lot of small bases, rather than the Impetus model of fewer, larger, bases. If your figures are based in the Impetus style, either you’ll need lots of space or you’ll have to make adaptations to make the game work for you. If you get the rules, you’ll be able to tell how easy or hard that will be.

    Triumph – This seems to be the US child of DBX, as Art De La Guerre (which willb mentioned) is a European one. Art De La Guerre is very popular in the UK, particularly for tournaments. I think that, if you were comfortable with the parent DBX, it is probably a case of finding which child you find most attractive. If you didn’t get on with the parent, the children have inherited enough characteristics that you are unlikely to be enamoured by any of them.

    To The Strongest! – This is the game I currently play most often. Yes, it is gridded, but the grids can be pretty unobtrusive. They certainly simplify the game-play. I’m surprised at your comments about cost; the price of the print and paper versions both seem similar to those of Age of Hannibal. Maybe postal charges affect this, depending on where you are. If you don’t like the cards idea, you can use chits or even D10s, as the cards are just a way of generating number values. I think that, to enjoy TtS!, you have to like, or at least be able to live with, a high random effect in your games. There is always a chance your units will fail their activations, and your attacks can end up with your units more damaged than those of the other side (all too frequently in my games yesterday!). If you like to be able to activate everything, or want to be able to predict combat outcomes, TtS! is not for you. They can be great fun if you like trying to manage uncertainty. They can cope with the largest of games (they were originallly designed for that) but still work well for smaller or tournament games.

    For me, the choice is between Impetus and TtS!, but if you are looking for something other than Impetus, and can work out a way of coping with base sizes, then I’d agree with Who Asked This Joker’s conclusion.

    RogerC

    in reply to: IMPETUS 2 #108277
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Thank you for the report, Wayne. I hope you find others who want to join your games.

    As one of those dreadful people who took part in Impetus tournaments, and now take part in To The Strongest! tournaments, my experience was that rule changes were often driven by those with historical axes to grind, rather than the tournament players I knew. It seems to be a wargamer’s disease (and I’m sure I’m not immune) that if they find a report of something happening, they want it reflected in the rules they play, no matter how rare or unusual the event was. Also, I think ‘Ancients’ rule-writers have the problem that, even if they are well-read in one period, the breadth of time covered by the rules means they have to take the word of others when out of their period of expertise. But then ‘it happened so your rules must allow it’ seems to affect even the most time-restricted rulesets.

    By the way, I know some of you would rather have your finger-nails pulled out one by one, rather than attend a tournament, but some of us find they can be a good way to play games you like with a greater range of people than are available locally. Most people Ive met at tournaments are there to play the games in a good spirit, not to win at all costs.

    However, I’m getting a bit far from the question of whether the new version of Impetus is worth buying. Like Guy, I have found that ‘improvements’ are often the opposite, but I liked the first version and I’ll approach the new edition with optimism.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Crusade at Penarth- 26 January #108272
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Yes, it was good to meet Guy, and to talk to others I know, at Crusade yesterday. I didn’t spend much either, despite the range of traders.

    I agree that what Crusade has gained in space for parking, sitting talking, and moving around (no buffeting rucksacks!), it has lost in cohesion. I hope those putting on the demo games, many of which are amazing to look at, don’t feel ignored. Considering the time the French Indo-China War game took to set up, I hope those playing it enjoyed themselves, and those who looked sent enough time to see all the details.

    The Rob Jones talk was chastening for those wanting to play mediaeval games, as Guy said. Reproducing in game terms a few broadly similar mobs clashing together without much manoeuvre is going to be a hard sell for an evening’s play. At least it had the effect of deterring me from starting (yet) another period; there are enough options around already.

    Anyway, i’m Still looking for ward to Crusade next year, and your game, Alan. You’ll have to,let us know what you are doing, so we can be sure to say hello.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Basic Impetus Retreat/Pursuit question… #104183
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I’ve played Basic Impetus 2 several times, so I’ll try to answer, although Guy Farrish has it pretty much right.

    Q1 Yes, unit A pursues only if unit B can pursue (and wouldn’t anyway if it wasn’t impetuous or heavy cavalry). It may seem odd, and i guess any attempted justification from me wouldn’t change opinions. I like Guy Farrish’s Top Gun analogy, but here it is the wingman who is staying. If my leader (B) is continuing to fight Roman unit 2, who am I to go charging off after Roman unit 1? From a game point of view, it is always the main unit who takes the risk of disorder/losses in a combat, so the restriction on pursuit stops players pursuing with a fresh unit even if the main unit is unfit or unable to pursue.

    Q3 Again, yes; skirmishers tend to neutralise each other rather than one or other being destroyed. If all skirmishers have to face are other skirmishers, it is assumed neither are likely to be able to do any significant harm to the other. But watch those super-skirmishers with VBU = 3, and note that if you want to try to get rid of the enemy skirmishers, the high risk option is to charge them! Unlike ‘full’ Impetus, skirmishers in Basic Impetus 2 can charge other skirmishers (the charged skirmishers can try to evade).

    Q2 The issue of alignment is a big topic. I didn’t come to Impetus from rules where units pivoted or slid when contact with the enemy was made, so I found this part of the rules entirely natural. I know others find it unusual. Indeed, I know some players may wheel units slightly, or move them slightly diagonally when making contact (perhaps unconsciously) to bring the alignments closer.If you don’t do that, exact alignment is very rare. I can’t think of a game where we’ve had to invoke the ‘dice to avoid exact alignment’ rule. Almost always, contact is at a slight angle, possibly because it is hard to align bases exactly parallel to the table edges, and exactly parallel and directly in front of enemy units. I see that in the picture; the opposing units form battle lines with parallel frontages along the length of the lines. Your ability to guage that by eye when deploying or wheeling must be better than mine.

    If you really find these features of Basic Impetus strange, then I guess you could have house rules, to allow impetuous supporting units to pursue, and to give skirmishers some ability to shoot at each other. Your skirmishers will tend to vanish faster, and impetuous units have a bit of an advantage, but I doubt it would seriously alter the game. On the other hand, changing to exact alignment on contact would be something major (no supporting units in melee any more, for example, noting that Impetus has no bonuses for ‘overlaps’)

    RogerC

    in reply to: Rules for SYW Horse artillery #103227
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I don’t think I can add anything specifically about SYW horse artillery. I think Mercer’s battery used 9pdrs, and French Revolutionary horse artillery used 8pdrs (and were unhappy when told to use 4pdrs), so horse batteries weren’t always lighter poundage. Perhaps the carriages were lighter, but I would doubt there was much of a difference in handling. Maybe in the SYW the horse guns were lighter than most other field guns, since there don’t seem to have been many guns in the 6 to 9pdr range.

    I’ve never really understood why a horse battery should be able to unlimber/limber significantly faster than a foot bsttery of equivalent weight. The hose artillery must have had the additional task of ensuring the crew’s horses were moved out of the way and brought back when needed. As grizzlymc said, I wonder if we are too influenced by the RHA exhibitions.

    I’ve found that wargame rules that give a benefit to horse artillery that goes beyond speed of movement once limbered are more likely to see them bouncing round the table in an unrealistic way. If the only benefit is faster/further movement per turn, then they will be less vulnerable getting to forward deployment positions (or faster getting away as per Norman Ramsey), but are just as likely as equivalent weight foot batteries to stay in position once they start to fire.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Poor troops #101200
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Sam Mustafa’s Lasalle rules have a classification of ‘unreliable’ for Prussian Landwehr and similar troops. On their first combat, you roll a D6. Roll 1 to 3 and they are poor for the rest of the game. Roll 6 and they are very good for the rest of the game, Roll 4 or 5 and they are average for that combat but you have to roll again for their next combat. So they could be the same as other average troops, but are more likely to be either good or bad, with the latter being more likely.

    More generally, I guess most gamers want a variation in the quality of their troops, whether that is due to equipment or ‘training’. The emphasis in different rules may vary. As has been said, the question is how such variations compare to the random variations present in the game, such as morale rolls, etc. Whilst we may think our best troops will be victorious, I want the possibility that even the worst enemy troops may defeat them, no matter how frustrating that may be when it happens. Maybe that is why the random effect is relatively high in most of the games I play. Poor troops may have a good day.

    RogerC

    in reply to: You takes your chances…. #84304
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Les Hammond, I agree that ‘out of the blue’ events affected historical battles, and if you are going to reproduce that, you may need chance elements which significantly affect one side or the other. On the other hand, they may not be a good ‘game’ experience.

    Suppose, playing solo, you draw a ‘wildcard’ on the first turn that says ‘The generals decide not to fight. Pack up your figures and don’t play again for another week’. That may be historical; there are many occasions when armies got close to a battle, but nothing happened. However, I suspect that you’d ignore such a ‘wildcard’ (or not have it at all). Equally, if I’ve travelled an hour or so for a game, and in the first or second turn there is a chance event that means the rest of the game is an exercise in watching my army be destroyed, it may not be something I want to repeat, however historical.

    As Chris Pringle says, you need a balance between predictability and luck. Too much of either and you haven’t a good game (unless you like playing chess or roulette).

    RogerC

    in reply to: You takes your chances…. #84277
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I think there is a difference between chance at a detailed level in the game – does this unit do well or badly in this combat – and chance at a high level – do all my units suffer a disadvantage, does half my army run away. Most of the games I play seem to have relatively high amounts of chance of the first sort, but low levels of the second. You can make a plan, and find chance gets in the way, but no one unlucky roll makes impossible your hope of a victory.

    I can understand that the second can often be justified historically. There were times when armies were much worse than expected, or when the rout of a single unit caused half the force to collapse. Maybe if it is part of the scenario conditions, it can work. However, it seems to me that any such major chance event is likely to be to the detriment of the game as a contest (however friendly) between the players.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Tudor English for Lion Rampant #83279
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Yes, very nice figures indeed.

    I understand your thinking about mounted archers. I see that The Pikeman’s Lament treats dragoons as similar to mounted yeomen, so isn;t a help with you want. It will be interesting to see if 6 dice for shooting works, or just makes them ineffective. One other possibility is to introduce a dismount/mount action (7+?). That would limit by delay the unit’s ability to switch between shooting well and moving rapidly. Also, if they have 6 dice to shoot, but 12 to melee, they are pretty good cavalry, perhaps better than you have described them to be. You could say that they shoot/melee with 3 fewer figures than are present, so are at half strength after losing 3 figures. You then have a unit which starts well but rapidly decreases in effectiveness when it has suffered a few casualties.

    It is one of the (many) good things about Lion Rampant that it is easy to tweak unit characteristics to get what you think is right.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Some thoughts on the turn sequence #81367
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    The games I play have different variations on Igo-Ugo. For example, the Impetus family are unit-driven, whilst Lasalle is classic, but with an odd sequence. I’ve never been troubled by the time when my opponent has his turn. I need all the thinking time I can get.

    The most extreme turn sequence I play is in Sam Mustafa’s Maurice. In a turn, a player decides if there is going to be any close-range shooting, in which case both sides shoot. Then, the player can do one thing (move or charge or rally or bombard with artillery) with one ‘force’. After that one thing, the turn passes to the other player. So it becomes a question of priorities. I would like to move my cavalry round the open flank, but if I do that my infantry will be shot up in my opponent’s turn. So I’ll have to try to rally that infantry this turn and the cavalry move must wait.

    Some people don’t like such restrictions on what they can do, and it can result in some units not doing anything the whole game. On the other hand, the turns come round quickly, and each turn you have a significant decision to make.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Variable objectives #81180
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    A very interesting idea; I must try it soon, perhaps with a Lasalle game. I think the people I play with will keep the stated objectives in mind.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Battle repeat #80898
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I don’t mind repeating a scenario if it produced a good game the previos time it was used.

    Whoever lost last time is likely to try something different. A different player is unlikely to follow the same course of action anyway. So even if the previous winner tries to repeat what they did, they’ll find they are facing something new. If it looks like one side can’t win, that is an excuse to tweak the forces or the terrain or the scenario conditions. Enough such tweaks, and you have a whole new scenario to play.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Self Propelled Artillery? #80897
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I have a few limbers, although not as many as there are batteries, in my 15/18mm Napoleonic armies. When I remember, they mark the position of batteries on the move and are replaced by the guns when unlimbered. So they are just markers. It is rare to have more than one or two batteries on the move at any time, so I don’t need very many. I’ve also been known (heresy, heresy) to use limbers from another army (preferably an allied one) if nothing else is readily to hand. I don’t mind doing the occasional limber model; that is infrequent enough to be a change.

    For other periods I rarely do limbers or other transport. No real excuse, except the rules I currently use don’t call for them.

    Maybe it is a bit of a ‘scale’ thing. I can see the difficulty at 28mm, whereas 6mm units tend towards diorama, lending themselves to limbers with artillery, and other such paraphernalia.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Satisfactory Pike and Shot rules #79796
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    That sounds interesting Hwiccee. I look forward to seeing ‘Twilight of the Divine Right’.

    When I talked about cavalry exhaustion, I wasn’t thinking of casualties, although I agree that some casualties could be exhausted individuals, but more an inability of a cavalry force to charge repeatedly without a prolonged time to recover. Many rules have ‘blown’ cavalry, but often the time that state lasts is short (a turn or two). My impression is that, most times, when cavalry have been committed to combat, they won’t be able to do much else except maybe pursue for the rest of the battle. Only good commanders can avoid that.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Favourite family of wargames rules? #79795
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I think I too would choose Sam Mustafa’s games. Note that recent ones, like Blucher and Rommel, don’t have card mechanics; the ‘unit cards’ are an option which you can use instead of miniatures. I’d add Maurice and Blucher to the ‘favourite’ list from Not Connard Sage.

    Second choice would be the ‘Impetus’ family. They have a much greater family likeness than the Sam Mustafa’s games, so maybe not enough variety if that was all I could play.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Satisfactory Pike and Shot rules #79680
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Good to hear that Pike and Shotte worked for you.

    I wonder if the predictability of games is because most rules of this (and maybe other) periods make victorious cavalry too controllable. It is rare for rules to make such cavalry pursue their defeated opponent, or simply mill around trying to reform. It is equally rare that the horses are too exhausted for further action. It should be hard (need a good commander) to ‘head inward’ onto the infantry. I guess most players don’t like units misbehaving (particularly if they are commanding the cavalry!). It would make for very different outcomes if, in most games, the cavalry were spent, one way or another, after they had clashed with the opposing cavalry, and the infantry had to resolve the battle themselves.

    I find Baroque fun, but it doesn’t solve the cavalry problem. I will be interested to see how ‘Twilight of Divine Right’ works, and also ‘For King and Parliament’ which are the forthcoming ECW varient of ‘To the Strongest!’

    RogerC

    in reply to: 3 games you played, 3 games you want to play #79667
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    The games I like to play haven’t changed much in the last few years. I’m also fortunate enough to play a reasonably large number in the year. The highlight was probably my birthday Basic Impetus tournament, but in terms of games played:

    3 played:
    To the Strongest! – somehow using cards rather than dice increases the tension.
    Baroque – for me, the ‘Impetus’ system worked fine for the 30 Years War. Visits to Lutzen and Breitenfeld increased the interest.
    Lasalle – maybe Napoleonics ‘lite’, but the limited number of turns makes for time pressure.

    3 to play:
    Square Bashing: but now for my new Russo-Japanese war troops.
    Maurice: always gives good games. I don’t get to play it enough.
    For King and Parliament: can TtS! convert to ECW and 30YW?

    RogerC

    in reply to: Room For Manoeuvre #75380
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Mike, I think the set up in the photo was a historical one, so the interest is in the details of local actions, and how the resulting game is similar or differs from the historical battle.

    More generally, set up is often important in ‘linear’ games, with each side seeking some sort of advantage. One side may have greater control of the terrain whilst the other may have deployment benefits. It will depend on the players and the rules used. Generally, if you have better scouts you will deploy second, to reflect knowledge of the enemy deployment when making your own.

    I would have thought set up and deployment would be important in most wargames, whether a game of manoeuvre or something more linear. Perhaps I am missing something in your questions.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Room For Manoeuvre #75378
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    I too would be happy to play the game shown in the photo. As has been said, there are games where the fun is in the manoeuvres, and others where it is in the command, control and combat. I know that, with the game shown, the troops will probably be in contact within 2 or 3 turns, and game revolves around local advantage and the use you can make if it. The absence of large scale manoeuvring isn’t then a problem for me. Equally, while I have played games where the manoeuvring is the fun part, I’ve also known some where the two sides spend so long trying to find an opening that it is time to pack up and go home before the two sides have come to grips.

    So I think either manoeuvre games or linear clash games can be fun or dull, depending on the way the game plays and the rules involved. A good opponent also helps.

    I also see that, from the map of the battle of Gaza, the two sides were about 20-25,000 a side. I believe Oudenarde had something like 80,000 a side, so 3 to 4 times larger. For the same table size, the effective depth would be greater for any Oodenarde game, and it would become possible to have a battle line that wasn’t straight, and/or more room for flanking moves. Alternatively, if you looked at a slice of Oodenarde representing the same number of troops as Gaza, it would probably be more linear.

    As Not Conrad Sage said, we’re limited by the length of our arms (at least until ‘extendo arms’ arrive!), and different games cope with that in different ways. I don’t think any one game style is intrinsically more fun than others.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Do You Need Victory Conditions in Games… #74244
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Hi Chris. Thanks, you’ve made me think hard about geographical victory conditions, I can see that they can be important, particularly in the context of a campaign as a whole.

    On the other hand, if at Mars-la-Tour the French had damaged the Prussians so badly that they had fallen back for a couple of days, wouldn’t the battle have been a French victory even if Bazaine still hadn’t taken the road towards Verdun? Equally, if all the French line corps had got away, but the Imperial Guard had been destroyed holding off the Prussians (as I could imagine in a wargame where the French ‘victory conditions’ were to get as many units away as possible), would Bazaine have reported a victory to his Emperor? Actually, I can’t see what Bazaine thought his ‘victory conditions’ were. He seems to be a commander who wouldn’t recognise a victory if it was handed to him.

    In the example in your later post, Napoleon was at the gates of Vienna in 1797 because he had defeated the Austrian armies sent against him. He hadn’t ignored them, or sought to bypass them, just so that he could take a geographical objective. The strategic geographical objective came as a result of one army defeating others in the battles of the campaign.

    I rather think I’m getting away from the original point of this thread. Most seem to think that some sort of victory conditions are useful, even if we debate what they should be in any particular situation. I couldn’t imagine playing a game where I didn’t know what a good (not necessarily winning) outcome would be.

    RogerC

    in reply to: Do You Need Victory Conditions in Games… #74136
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Does the importance of scenario objectives depend on the size of the forces involved? For most ‘army’ level battles, it seems to me that the principal objective was to destroy or at least cause sufficient damage to the enemy army. Terrain features may be means to that end, but taking them was rarely an end in itself. As the forces get smaller, objectives other than damage to the enemy become more important. Skirmishes will, almost always, be for some reason other than the destruction of the opposing skirmishers.

    I wonder if this influences some of the answers above, as it is evident people are thinking about games of different sizes. Meeting engagements may be fine for games representing clashes of ancients armies, but are unlikely to be rewarding for clashes of small forces.

    RogerC

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