Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Medieval Quandary

I recently received an order of 10mm 100 Year's War figures from Kallistra. Here is a bad photo of a strip of the spearmen (to the left is a 15mm Viking from Irregular).

My intention was to base each figure individually. I knew that some were based on strips but I planned to cut them apart. If the bases were too thick to cut then I'd consider multi-figure bases like my Francesia horse and musket armies (bases of 3 figures in 1 rank). However, I did not count on what I received. The men on the strips are not facing toward the long side of the strip but toward the short side. The metal thins near the middle so apparently the strips are supposed to be cut in the middle. It looks like it will be a difficult chore to separate the pairs of figures after making the cut in the middle. The upshot is that the figures probably should be based in 2 ranks, which is completely at odds with all my preferred methods of basing.

Thus my quandary. Do I try to separate all the figures and base them individually or do I bite the bullet and base them in 2 ranks, which seems like the easiest proposition. If I base them in 2 ranks, how many figures should be on a base, and how many should be in a unit? Decisions. Decisions.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Game Night(s) Update

Two Game Nights in the last two weeks!

Star Trek Catan
We played this the previous Saturday but I was slothful about posting the report. I mentioned that I received STC as a birthday gift. We got to try it out. Here are the final positions:
My red empire rules the galaxy!
The rules are nearly identical to classic Settlers of Catan but with a space theme. Starships replace roads; outposts and starbases replace towns and cities; a Klingon raider replaces the thief. The planets produce different resources than the traditional game (resulting in a decline in double entendres about wood and sheep). Nevertheless, it is still the same game. One cool addition is the use of support cards. Each player starts with (and can only have) 1 support card. When a support card is used up (each one can be used twice) it is replaced and the original card goes back to the pile. Each support card has a picture of an Original Series character along with a special ability. These abilities add an extra layer of strategy to the game.

Overall, a fun game. Plus, I won our original playing.

We played 2 games of Dungeon last night.
  1. I played a cleric and generally stuck to levels 1 and 2. I had good luck, rarely losing a fight, and was able to make it out alive with 10,000 gold and the game.
  2. This time Elizabeth (who was a spectator in the first game) played a rogue. She had an incredibly hot hand with the dice, frequently rolling 11s and 12s to smite the monsters into oblivion. She won without much difficulty.

More Thoughts on Last Week's Battle

Some thoughts on random topics arising from the skirmish in the mountains, brought to you courtesy of my cool Hobbit journal.

Random Deployment
For this game, I tried a new random force composition process, using the Command & Colors dice. I mentally divided the board into 3 sectors. Each side rolled 3 dice per sector, with the results as follows:

  • Infantry - 1 infantry unit (naturally)
  • Cavalry - 1 cavalry unit
  • Artillery - nothing. This scenario featured two scouting parties encountering each other so I thought it unlikely that they would have artillery.
  • Flag - nothing.
  • Crossed Swords - 1 elite infantry unit (rangers).
I then used a D6 to randomly determine each unit's starting position. Each sector was 3 spaces wide and I allowed deployment in the first 2 rows so conveniently there were 6 possible starting squares.

Special Units
Kaptain Kobold asked about the rangers and light cavalry. I must admit that the rules were not well thought out, but fortunately I forgot to use them as written.

  1. Rangers - I figured I'd do them like Memoir '44 - move 2 and still fight. When I decided this I totally ignored that I pared down movement so cavalry only moved 2 and infantry 1. Thus, I think this rule makes the rangers too powerful. As I mentioned, though, I forgot to use the rule and used the rangers like regular infantry.In the future I may just have rangers move 1 but they can still battle after entering woods.
  2. Light cavalry - Fight with 2 dice. I did not account for the -2 modifier that cavalry gets for attacking into woods, which would bring their attack to 0 dice. I mistakenly rolled 1 dice attacking into woods, which is a pleasant accident as light cavalry probably should not suffer as great a reduction in woods fighting as regular cavalry. In the future, I may make their mod -1 for woods.
As an aside, I have started to follow Kaptain Kobold's Stronghold Rebuilt blog. I have not had time to peruse it in depth but I have enjoyed what I've read so far therefore I have no qualms about recommending it highly.

Line of Sight Question
A situation arose during the game when I wanted a unit to attack diagonally (in the picture below, the red arrow represents the attack. A friendly unit and some woods are between the attacking and defending units. Can the attack go through or is line of sight blocked?

In the Command & Colors rules, intervening terrain and units would block line of sight. My rules, however, use a square grid rather than C&C's hex grid, which causes a greater restriction to line of sight. In this situation, I made a judgement call that the friendly unit does not block line of sight and the attacking unit may proceed. Nevertheless, this case points out one of the advantages of a hex grid and tempts me to switch over (which I would do if hex grids were easier to draw).

A Benefit of Solo Gaming
Late in the game, a situation arose where a Grayrockian infantry unit situated on a hill was being attacked by 2 units of enemy cavalry. Close by was a very weakened Bluderian infantry unit. On the Grayrock turn, I pondered what to do. Because Grayrock only needed 1 more flag to win the game, the best tactics from a game perspective was for the Grayrockian infantry to move off the hill towards the Bluderian infantry and attack with the hope of wiping out that unit. If successful, the game would be over. I hesitated because this tactic did not seem realistic. I imagine that if in real life an infantry unit was attacked by enemy cavalry, it would hold its position on the hill and (while forming square) try to battle off the attackers. I wondered if C&C had a rule or if I should institute one.

Then the beauty of solo gaming came to the fore. I decided to eschew the gamey tactic and instead choose the more realistic one. If I had been playing competitively, my desire to win probably would have overwhelmed my sense of realism and I would have attacked the infantry unit. Instead, I stuck to the hill. It worked out in the end as Grayrock still won the battle, but it reminded me that solo gaming can have its advantages.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Some Notes about Today's Battle

It has been nearly a month since the last encounter of the Grayrock Revolution so I have been itching for action. I finally had the opportunity to run a game this morning.

This game provided an excellent opportunity for a little experimentation. This picture shows a couple of birthday gifts that I have pressed into service:

  • On the far right is the dice tray that I got for my birthday. My Command & Colors dice are sitting in the tray.
  • Next to the dice tray is a Hobbit themed journal. While I play games, I keep notes in a journal (actually a composition book like I used in grade school). My wife thought it would be nice if I had a better journal. I christened it with the battle notes from today's encounter.

This picture gives a somewhat better view of my other experiment:

  • New trees made from a kitchen sponge (unused). The color is awful but I intend to paint them a darker green. I originally planned to use toothpicks for the trunks but I think I may forego that and just mount them on bases. I'll imagine that the lower branches are drooping down, thus obscuring the trunks. Hurrah for lazy rationalization!

 Before I get to the battle report, I have one last observation. The Command and Color rules system does not specify the scale of the battle so one can be flexible. For example, in one battle a unit may represent a company and in the next it represents a battalion. It may not be strictly realistic to use the same rules for each level, but it works from a game perspective. In today's battle, I imagined that each unit represented a company or squadron.

Now on to the fighting!

Grayrock Revolution - A Skirmish in the Mountains

Ever since the Battle of Balderdash Pass, the Bluderians have sent scouts into the mountains looking for another way into Maraconi. The Grayrockian rebels have responded by sending their own parties to drive off the Bluderian scouts.

In one of these encounters, young Lord Heddybottom, in command of 3 companies of infantry (one of them being "rangers") and 3 squadrons of light cavalry, had been tasked with scouting out possible trails into Maraconi. While scouting, he ran into a defending force of 3 companies of Grayrock infantry (1 being a "ranger" unit) a 2 squadrons of light cavalry.


  • Rangers can move 2 spaces and still fight
  • Light cavalry only battles with 2 dice

Lord Heddybottom led his force into the wilds of the Maraconian mountains. He came to an area of relatively level and open ground. Spreading out his troops, with the majority on his right, Heddybottom advanced. He soon received word that his flanking force had spotted the enemy.
Opening positions.
Both sides are strongest on the Grayrock left
 Heddybottom's troops reacted immediately. One of his cavalry squadrons charged a unit of Grayrock rangers (in white), causing serious casualties.
 The remaining rangers regrouped. Their disciplined fire disordered the cavalry but Bluderian infantry came to the cavalry's support and drove the rangers away.
The rangers repulsed (left).
Meanwhile, Grayrock infantry advances in the center.
 But the Bluderian infantry would pay for its aggressiveness. Grayrock cavalry counterattacked and the surprised infantry fled to the trees. Meanwhile, battle began raging for "Heddybottom's Hill."
Heddybottom (green cavalry figure) holds his hill while Grayrock cavalry runs amok.
 Heddybottom would not hold his hill for long as 2 Grayrock companies stormed the hill
Grayrockians take the hill.
 Pounded by heavy musketry, the central Bluderian infantry fled, leaving Heddybottom by himself in the open. He quickly rode to join the cavalry on the hill.
Heddybottom joins with the cavalry.
Note the damaged Grayrock infantry (center with casualty marker) retreating.
 The action quickly grew intense. The center Grayrock cavalry charged and wiped out the Bluderian cavalry on the (Grayrock) left. They in turn were wiped out by the cavalry squadron led by Heddybottom himself.
After the cavalry clash.
Only Heddybottom remains on the left.
Meanwhile, the cavalry squadrons on the right begin to make their way to the battle.
Heddybottom then tangled with the Grayrock infantry on the hill only to be forced back.
The aftermath of Heddybottom's Charge.
 The Grayrock infantry on Heddybottom's Hill proved to be a major nuisance. Its musketry driving the Bluderian rangers (green infantry) out of the woods. To address this threat, Heddybottom launched a major cavalry assault on the Hill.
The cavalry assault.
 Although bloodied, the Grayrock infantry retreated in good order off the hill. They were met and supported by another infantry unit that had previously retreated. The pursuing cavalry squadrons were met with a blaze of musketry from the 2 Grayrock companies, which forced them to retreat.

At that moment, the remaining Grayrock cavalry charged the Bluderian rangers who had taken the hill. The rangers broke and fled. Seeing the victorious Grayrockian bearing toward them was too much for Heddybottom. He called for the retreat.
The final position.
Grayrock cavalry on the hill, threatening Heddybottom.
The Grayrock infantry companies are all intact but heavily damaged.

Monday, February 10, 2014


Although I did not play any wargames this weekend, I did manage to get some gaming in. For game night on Saturday we pulled out a game we hadn't played in a while - Carcassonne.

The board at game's end
Although I forget the final points tally, I remember that Elizabeth absolutely destroyed us in this game. She built the big city (center left) and racked up 24 points for it alone. A well deserved victory on her part.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Busy weekend so I was not able to run any Francesia scenarios. Today was my birthday and I received a couple of gaming related gifts.

1, Star Trek Catan

 I did a quick read-through of the rules and it is basically Settlers of Catan in space. There is only one addition - support cards featuring characters from the ST: TOS. I think this will be the choice for the next game night.

2. Wood Dice Tray
My wife ordered this for me before I made the one from the box from Michael's. Now I have 2!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Space Templars and the Caverns of Tantalus

I was up early this morning and felt like rolling some dice, but I did not feel like setting up a game. Therefore, I decided to run a Space Templars RPG adventure.

I created an adventure a few months ago but never got in the mood to play until today. The first part of my game report is on my Tales of the Templars blog. I'll be adding new scenes over the next several days.