Thursday, August 30, 2007

Computer Problems in Transition --

Well I've taken a plunge and I may be having computer problems for a few days . . . .

More correctly, I'm hoping to solve problems we have been having. I've been running Windows XP and it had gotten to the point where it was crashing several times a day.

With the help of a friend, we have wiped my hard drive completely and have installed a Linux operating system.

Right now there are several things that aren't working yet . . . and I've lost ALL of my saved emails . . . ah, in fact Stu had to leave before we could get my email working again. If you email me, it may get bounced back for a few days.

Murdock, I lost the information that you sent to me about what I'll need for the Battle of Stinz . . . . but you probably shouldn't try to resend unit late tomorrow or even sometime on Saturday. There was only one unit that I think that I still needed to base up . . . actually, thinking about it, you can leave a comment here and I'll get it.

I'm actually looking forward to becoming familiar with PCLinuxOS, since I was thoroughly sick of a lot of the Microsplat error messages. Besides, I've long wanted to move to Linux, but didn't know anyone who was using it . . . until now.

Wish me luck, please.

-- Jeff

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Battle of Polkfurt --

I knew going in that this battle could be a disaster. After all, it wasn't to be the "normal" sort where two armies face each other across a stretch of terrain.

This was to be one of Charles Grant's "Table Top Teasers". More specifically, it was the "Wagon Train" teaser.

Steve-the-Wargamer has a number of these "teasers" (including "Wagon Train") on his website.

I wouldn't know when or where my forces would arrive. I'd previously diced for my troops and had been a bit unlucky. I had one Elite, three Veteran and two Raw units (Pete had two Elites and three Veteran units plus another Veteran and his only Raw unit in the Town).

When I arrived at Murdock's, I diced for my units (in my "Tricorne Wars" rules, you have to dice to find out how much of each unit's "paper strength" actually showed up that day). Infantry units have a potential of having six companies each . . . I ended up with 5 and 3 companies for my Veterans and 5 for my Raw troops (the Grenzers).

In terms of mounted troops, I had one each Elite (von Kodiak Kuirassiers), Veteran (Edelbrau Dragoons) and Raw (Heineken Hussars). Each could have four squadrons . . . I ended up with 3, 3 and 2 squadrons respectively.

I also had two Light Guns . . . unless I rolled a "1" on one of my two d6s . . . you guessed it, one of my guns was gone as usual. Fortunately Pete also rolled a "1" for one of his artillery pieces (although certainly better than I did with his other troops).

I also knew (as Murdock indicates on his excellent battle report) that some of my troops would not be coming in early (having rolled a pair of sixes when dicing for my half of the entry turns).

So I started the game thinking I had a hard row to hoe. But as turn after turn progressed, Pete's troops became more-and-more separated. Then, on turn six, I got three units arriving in almost perfect spots.

The von Kodiak Kuirassier (with the Cavalry Commander, Brigadier Ernst von Bruin) came in from the north of the column and the Edelbrau Dragoons arrived from the south. With the latter was my Army Commander, Major General Otto von Lager and three small companies of Karlsberg Jagers (skirmishing foot).

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Pete, the Rheinfelden Grenzers and Infantry Commander Brigadier Wolfgang von Weiser entered under cover of the southern woods. It would take a number of turns for them to arrive . . . but they could be very dangerous coming out of the woods.

So, I'm feeling pretty good. Murdock's son, Alex is running von Bruin and the Kuirassiers. Our plan is to avoid the infantry guarding the flanks and to hit the supply column (our primary target).

But my "Tricorne Wars" rules are deliberately written to include lots of "fog of war" aspects.

We had entered with "Attack" orders . . . but when within 12" of enemy, a Brigadier or General needs to test to INTERPRET those orders knowing the actual situation on the field. von Bruin diced for his interpretation . . . and they went up to "Assault" . . . meaning his troops within his command radius had to charge at fires opportunity.

Alas, the Kuirassiers looked to be right near the limit of their maximum charge distance . . . and dicing for it, they fell short. In addition, my rules call for a variable morale. Elites (and the Kuirass were my only Elite unit) roll two "Averaging Dice" (numbered 2,3,3,4,4,5) and take the higher number as their morale number for that day . . . the Kuirassiers only ended up with a "3" morale (while the unit they charged got a "5").

Net result, Pete's unit opened fire and wiped out over a third of the unit.

Meanwhile, my Dragoons were close enough to charge . . . but I blew my "to charge" test . . . so they just stood there in Disorder. Emotionally, I crashed . . . bad luck, but what could I do?

Then the Kuirassier got mauled again d0wn to a single squadron now; but I was successful in out-maneuvering the infantry and my Dragoons charged into the supply column as the Jagers sucked up fire. My charge had over-run one wagon and routed a pack of mules -- effectively destroying two of the four wagons I needed to stop the Nordenites from re-supplying their troops. I'm really feeling "up" now.

And, while the matter remained in doubt for some turns, with several "ups" and "downs", it eventually became obvious that the Grenzers were going to loot enough wagons (now effectively "dead in their tracks" with a massive Cavalry "ball" preventing them from proceeding any further, and so Pete conceded.

Stepping back a bit now, as the rule designer, this was a very interesting test. It is not at all the sort of situation that I envisioned as I've been writing "Tricorne Wars" . . . yet I think that they worked well on this day. We plan on trying it again next Sunday and we'll see if it works as well (although I'm hoping that Murdock will "tweak" the terrain a bit, since it will be a different city -- Stinz -- that he's trying to resupply).

Oh, I nearly forgot. The photo above shows the penultimate turn played, with the Grenzers and Dragoons about to close in on the rear wagons while the Hussars and remnants of the Kuirassiers tie up the front of the column. (click on it for a better look)

-- Jeff

Monday, August 27, 2007

Victory at Polkfurt --

Early reports indicate that the noble forces of the Principality of Saxe-Bearstein, although outnumbered by the troops of the Duchy of the North, managed to defeat the Duchy's attempt to bring desperately needed supplies to their forces in Polkfurt.

Terms of the surrender are being negotiated even as we speak.

Details of the battle will undoubtedly soon become available through the auspices of the Duchy of Mieczyslaw, who had both reporters and some artists overlooking the conflict.

(I'm too tired to write much tonight . . . but the most noted unit of the conflict is the Edelbrau Dragoons. They not only received Battle Honors (as did the Karlsberg Jagers), but they are now lauded as Elite troops instead of just being Veterans.)

-- Jeff

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Polkfurt Playtest Today --

Well, in a touch over 10 hours from now (as I'm writing this) Pete (Duchy of the North) and I will meet on the tabletop at Murdock's.

I still haven't had a chance to paint my RSM figures, so I'm using some of my Great Northern War figures as "stand-ins" (all are Blood Axe Miniatures -- sadly no longer available).

The infantry units will be red-coated GNW Saxons (the tricorne units) and one multi-coloured Russian unit re-based for and standing in for Grenzers.

The Cavalry isn't quite as close, uniform-wise. My Heavy Horse is in gray rather than white; the Dragoons are red-coated rather than Buff; and I'm using Cossacks in place of Hussars.

Still, they should provide an interesting contrast to Pete's blue-coated Swedish-inspired troops. You can see the terrain if you take a look at Murdock's website. And the basic scenario is one of Charles Grant's "Table Top Teasers". You can find it (and many others) on Steve-the-Wargamer's Table Top Teasers page.

Wish me luck!

-- Jeff

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another Playtest Scheduled --

While not completely over my recent medical woes, I am feeling much better. So much so that I've decided upon the next "Tricorne Wars" playtest.

Rather than the straight-up meeting engagements that we've been playing so far, I think that we will try one of Charles Grant's "Table Top Teasers". More specifically, the "Wagon Train" scenario.

Current plans are for Pete to run the Supply Column while my own Saxe-Bearstein troops will take on the role of the forces attempting to prevent the re-supply of the Northern troops trapped in the walled city of Polkfurt. With luck, we will play this out on the 26th of this month.

To get an idea of the scenario, go to Steve-the-Wargamer's website and check out the April '78 and May '78 downloads. You may also see a couple of Steve's games using this scenario on his Marlburian pages.

I urge you to check out some of the other Table Top Teasers that he's posted since they make good game seeds.

-- Jeff

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ouch! Cortisone and Kidney Stones --

I apologize for not posting or commenting much lately. A few days ago I got a cortisone shot in the inside base of my thumb . . . and now I know why my wife has refused to ever get any more cortisone shots (she had about ten while she was a professional figure skater).

They hurt like Hell!

It was a good thing that the doctor insisted that I lie down before he gave it to me. First, it is going into an extremely inflamed area and then flooding the overstressed tissues with something they don't like.

Anyway, the stress on my body played havoc with my blood sugar (I have Type II Diabetes -- normally well under control) and has kicked my kidneys into dumping more "gravel" as well. So I have been on pain medications the last few days. But don't worry, I should be back relatively soon.

-- Jeff

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tippelbruder Defenders Get Ready --

After due consideration, Furst Bruno V has decided to augment his troop commitment to the defense of Tippelbruder.

Regiment von Lowenbrau (of 750 men in red coats with light blue facings, brass buttons and yellow hat tape), while trained, is untested in battle (i.e., it has a "Raw" rating).

Therefor the Furst has decided to send two experienced Grenadier companies, those of von Carling (123 men rated "Elite") and von Coors (122 men rated "Veteran") to stiffen our other troops.

Regiment von Carling's grenadiers are in red coats with black facings; while the von Coors troops have pale yellow facings. Both have silver buttons and silver grenadier hat plates.

In addition, our second most senior brigade commander, Brigadier Ernst von Bruin (rated "Steady"), has been dispatched to command our troops and whatever other forces you choose to place under his command.

Accompanying him will be a short company (62 men) of Karlsberg Jagers (sadly rated "Raw") and one 9-pound gun. The former troops may be used for scouting and harassing the Stagonians should they attack.

The Jagers wear green coats trimmed with gray and have no hat lace.

The Artillerymen will be in gray uniforms with red trim and white hat lace (usually rather gray due to the black powder residue.

Unfortunately, the Furst is unable to furnish any mounted troops at this time.

And, while the Stagonian field army is fairly substantial with 8 regiments of line infantry, 3 regiments of "Colonial infantry" (sort of like Grenzers), a battalion of standing Grenadiers. as well as 4 regiments each of Heavy Horse and of Other Horse, plus considerable Artillery, the Furst does not believe that they would commit it all against Tippelbruder.

Regiment von Urquell (red coats with green facings, rated "Veteran") will remain ready to march if needed.

-- Jeff of Saxe-Bearstein
for Furst Bruno von Ursa

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

My Saxe-Bearstein Infantry --

Click on photo for a larger image.

This is an image of the various line infantry battalions of Saxe-Bearstein. And, while I am responsible for the color choices, the blank Uniform Templates were drawn by David of "Not by Appointment":

-- Jeff
My Saxe-Bearstein Cavalry --

Click on photo for a larger image.

This is an image of the various mounted forces of Saxe-Bearstein. And, while I am responsible for the color choices, the blank Uniform Templates were drawn by David of "Not by Appointment":

-- Jeff