Friday, 6 September 2019

Some pics from recent games using FoB2 and a PK'd version of our own.

I don't seem to have much time to do much in the way of blogging these days, which will hopefully change after the schools go back, but, to be going on with, here ate some pics of my Peninsular stuff in action last month. The collection is coming on and decisions, after much faffing about, on the rules are too.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

FOR SALE: 2nd Caçadores x16

Firstly, the reason for this sale. Initially I intended to do my Caçadores in units of 16 figures in skirmish order. My plan has now changed, and my new plan calls for units of 24 figures. The brown I used to paint these figures is a mix of paint I can no longer match - this unit cannot be enlarged. Consequently, it is surplus to requirement. 

2nd Caçadores. 16 Figures. Figures are Front Rank. They are painted with enamels by yours truly.

The price, including postage within U.K. (postage to other destinations by arrangement) is £150.00. I will sell on a first come first served basis following contact by email - see below. 

I will accept payment by BACS (preferred), or Pay Pal. All money received will be used to buy more Napoleonic lead.

If you want these figures, drop an email to this address to arrange the sale:

Thanks for looking,


Tuesday, 20 August 2019

French get to the half way stage - Roll Call!

Twenty units done! 
My Peninsular French 'army' has hit the half way stage! 

There is only one criteria for units joining this 'army'. They must have fought, at one time or another, in the Peninsular between 1808 and 1813. It helps their bid to join if they are wearing an interesting uniform; it also helps if I have already have a flag for them in my 'flag bag', to save a little on cost.

So what, from the French lead pile (this is most of the French order - it grew), have I painted so far?

Six 'command group' leader stands. Each comprises two mounted figures.

These are for use as divisional or brigade level command groups (depending on the rules in use).
Two batteries of French foot artillery: Each comprises two guns, eight gun crew and a limber.

The guns are not glued to the bases.
1st Hussars: Twelve mounted figures on six stands.
22nd Chasseurs a Cheval: Twelve mounted figures on six stands.
4th Dragoons: Twelve mounted figures on six stands.

Vistula Lancers: Twelve mounted figures on six stands. 

Caveat emptor: The plume colours are guess work, based on internet images.
27th Ligne: Three battalions, each of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.
36th Ligne: Three battalions, each of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.
2nd Legere: Three battalions, each of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.

This unit has great plume colours!
Paris Municipal Guard: Two battalions, each of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.

I absolutely wanted a few units in white. 
Legion Hannovrienne: One battalion of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.

Red uniform and not Swiss. Also interesting because they are a legere unit wearing a ligne uniform with elite company distinctions.

This unit has no voltigeur company.
Legion du Midi: One battalion of twenty eight figures (24 close and 4 skirmish order) on six stands.

In brown. Again legere in ligne uniform and elite company distinctions. The chasseurs have a lozenge shaped plume - these fashioned using Miliput.
Regiment Irlandaise.

A legere unit in bright green. 

I might change the flag - this one is for the 2nd battalion; I thought the large harp it bears would look good but, in retrospect, the flag for the first battalion bears a tricolour central design on a green field with harps in the corners, and it might be more eye catching.
The centre stands of each unit (when in line) bear the unit's name plate and it's 'roster bead stand'. 

I mentioned these before. They are not to everyone's taste but I like a paperless office and everything visible on the table. The beads are the dice modifier beads for playing Piquet's FoB2. The blue one on the left is for defence die and the one on the right one for combat die (blue is Up 1); The number bead is the command group ID bead; the black bead shows that the unit has not used its first fire.

Skirmish stands bear a small number on a hole punch chad. In this case indicating these are skirmishers of the 36th Ligne. As the collection grows, this will be useful for sorting things out post battle.

So, that's 408 foot, 60 mounted, 4 guns and 2 limbers (each with four horses & two riders). 

All figures are FRONT RANK

All were painted by yours truly using enamels (in the main).

Still to do (with half a dozen units to buy), for a total of 40 units plus command: 

  • 2 French legere; 4 battalions of French Ligne (might change to Italian / Neapolitan or Confederation units?); 2 battalions of Swiss; 2 battalions of Nassau; 2 battalions of Poles; 2 battalions of converged grenadiers.
  • 3 regiments of Dragoons; 2 regiments of Chasseurs a Cheval.
  • 1 battery of foot artillery; 1 battery of horse artillery.
  • Several command stands, including one four figure 'C-in-C' stand of four figures.
But, next up, five Anglo-Portuguese units (4 infantry, 1 cavalry) to bring them up to the 20 unit half way point (actually 20 1/2 - but lets not go there!).

When both are up to the 20 unit, 'small army' strength, they will be worthy of a four figure 'C-in-C' stand apiece.

Getting to this point has been hard work. Painting both sides slows things down, especially at the start when there isn't enough to game with (and your painting a lot of Napoleonic stuff for clients during the week). Let's see how it goes from this point on.

Thursday, 4 July 2019

First game of Lasalle - first thoughts

Last night Peter J. and I played our first game using Lasalle rules by Sam Mustafa. The scenario set up can be found here: The Bridges at Taco Reir

The first thing to say, as when playing most rules for the first time, is that we played several things slightly wrong. Most especially, I forgot that the recovery test often requires the rolling of more than one dice - so things recovered far too easily. 

Anyway, the game rattled along at a fair lick and by the end of the evening we had the basics pretty well sorted - we even discovered the Recovery Test mistake. Both of us had broken some enemy units and by the end of the evening and just about every unit had got its teeth into the enemy. 

The British were breaking the French left and pressing towards the pontoon bridge and the French had broken through the British centre and were mounting the high ground.

According to the rules we were about to run out of time; at best guess we played 18 player turns (9 each) - so the game could be called a draw. The 'lack of result' was largely down to advancing in line rather than column - a habit picked up from playing rules with much greater move and shooting distances - which meant several 'wasted' early turns.

Good things about the rules: 

Lasalle has a superb, very clever upside down move sequence that we liked very much. It allowed for much cut and thrust whilst keeping everything 'clean'. By that I mean that despite the confused look of the battlefield the game wasn't confusing at all. The move sequence is the basic mechanism that runs this game and it is excellent.

We liked several clear cut rulings - like not being able to shoot if there are any friendly troops in your fire zone closer than the enemy (straight ahead, width of unit, out to 8" for musketry, and about 40" for artillery roundshot). I just need to make a few beaten zone templates.

The factors for shooting and melee are kept to an absolute minimum. Indeed, there are astonishingly few. There are quick reference sheets but I can see these becoming almost redundant after a few games because there is so little 'detail' to remember. 

The complexity in the game comes from what I might call 'situation rules' which are well explained in the main rule book. There are a fair few of these. Fortunately, they are mostly intuitive; I'm sure these to will be remembered and become second nature after a few games. 

The move rates and shooting ranges are also excellent. They are just what I was looking for. This is because the game was developed to fight battles on 6' x 4' tables. Now, my table is much bigger than that, and this means I have plenty of room, especially in depth, to deploy reserves at some distance from the enemy - going forward, for Napoleonic games, this will be a very useful aspect of Lasalle. Thinking back on it, wanting a bigger table had nothing to do with shooting further or moving faster, rather it was all to do with table depth for initial deployment areas and table length for flank room - how soon we forget.

How much any set of rules provides for 'period feel' is, in my opinion, a mute point. In my experience, period feel usually comes from the period knowledge, and the attitude to game play, of the players playing the game, not the rules sending players back in time. That said, I think Lasalle, played in the right spirit, is as good as anything I've played and better than some.

Just three things I didn't like so much:

I wonder if Sam Mustapha has an artillery fixation. According to my research, artillery occupied a frontage of about 10 yards per piece. For a French battery this equates to roughly a third of the frontage of a typical battalion in line. With my basing, this means a single gun per battery. I don't like single gun batteries so I fudged my collection and settled on two gun batteries. Big Sam has four model gun French batteries (representing 8 guns) with the same frontage as a battalion and this is simply too big, IMHO. I'm going to use two gun batteries with Lasalle (and be damned) and just have them roll for the rule prescribed number of guns; as guns never lose 'bases' this should work just fine. He also puts a battery with every six units or so - which also seems rather populace to me. My thoughts on Lasalle's artillery rules are a quibble, not a deal breaker. I'm fairly sure my house rule will not affect game play very much at all - we'll see. 

On first play, we found the commander 'tactics' factor in melee too powerful. We can see the logic behind the mechanism - it is an abstract way of exerting commander influence at the schwerpunkt - but, it does seem to swing a combat in a very draconian way. We'll persist with it for now, one game probably isn't enough to judge the 'probabilities'.

Walls. Why does it take a whole move to get over a wall? Again, this is probably just me. Perhaps I'm too used to having them on the table in the first place - especially as I often use them to bound and distinguish areas of rough terrain. Thinking about it, the rule makes good sense for game play - the unit is over the wall or not. So this is even less of a quibble than the artillery thing - but, to be 'BBC balanced', I can't be wholly positive about anything!

So, not bad then. At the end of our first night's play our opinion of Lasalle was very positive. These rules have a lot of merit. We're looking forward to giving them another bash next week.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Some pics of a recent LOGW game - Dresden 1813

It's that time of year again. The League of Gentlemen Wargamers meet three times a year to play a two day game. It's the only time I get to play in a serious multi-player game (typically 12 - 15 players plus an umpire) and I can't tell you, given the game length, what a difference that dynamic makes. This game was organised by Dale S. and his organisation and umpiring was, to say the least, very clever.

This was not the only big Napoleonic game going on in Scotland this particular weekend. In Glasgow a hundred player 22,000 figure Waterloo game was being played to break a world record. We only managed 12 players with 12,000 figures (apparently). I provided only 300 French infantry, but I was on the train.

I'm not going to tell you that I won the day on this occasion, as my table fellow Corps commander was the ever lucky Charlie Grant. We broke the allied left and swept round behind their centre. We did it with gusto and a fair amount of bluster - much to the chagrin of my host Steve R. who was kind enough to put me up again. It says a lot when you can kick the living whatever out of a man on one day and see him cooking you bacon for breakfast the next!

Anyway, the original game frontage was 48 feet (three 16 x 6 tables), with a reserve 16 foot table (which, guess who got to fight on) used to represent the allied centre rear. So, without much explanation, the pics.

Here we see the French centre and right tables. The far table is the French right. The line of buildings on the centre table is Dresden.

The Young Guard, thousands of 'em. The allies don't stand a chance. It's a wonder they last as long as they do - fighting up to the call of play.

The Old Man 'CS Napoleon' sticks a tape measure up his nose whilst my host examines some paint jobs.

Charlie Grant, the wonder boy, examining his logistics support. Later, he'll throw it away because he can feast on his dead.

I'm on the left. My reserves arrive on turn two. Steve is buggered.


The second table. 

Peter N. surveys his ever shrinking perimeter. He and Kev C. were facing the Yound Guard - thousands of 'em.

At the end of the last Sunday session the Reserve Guard Cavalry Corps starts to arrive (Four regiments of sixteen, each 24 figures strong, arrive by the end of play and the game is called - for the French!). The allied reserve cavalry rides to meet them but, they are about to be swamped. 

And the French won.

I'm a very lucky boy to get to play games like these with the LOGW.