Saturday, August 25, 2012

Battle Report - Aserradero

This week at Curt's saw us trying out Hail Caesar with my El Cid era 25mms.  We used the old chestnut the Battle of Sawmill Village from the first Charles S Grant book.  Curt took on the Campeador's role in charge of the Zaragozans leading from the front with his cavalry while Sylvain was in charge of the Zaragozan foot.  On the Aragonese side, Pedro was in charge of the cavalry and Stacy the foot sloggers.

Forces were as follows (I let the Zaragozans have better infantry than normal to balance out the Heavier Aragonese Cavalry)

1 Heavy Cavalry unit (Andalusian Cavalry)
2 small  Light Cavalry units (Andalusian Jinetes with Feigned flight)
2 Heavy Infantry units (one Zaragozan, one Berber mercenaries)
2 small Light Infantry units (one unarmoured archers, one armoured crossbows)

1 Heavy Cavalry unit (Hidalgos with lance, eager and tough fighters)
1 Medium Cavalry unit (Caballeros Villanos)
1 small  Light Cavalry units (Christian Jinetes)
1 Heavy Infantry unit (mercenaries)
1 Medium Infantry unit (Aragonese militia)
2 small Light Infantry units (one unarmoured archers, one unarmoured crossbows)

The Aragonese forces consistantly rolled badly on the activation rolls, crawling on one move per turn thanks to the column formation while El Cid had the Zaragozan lights scampering through the village in no short order.  Pedro blames Stacy's infantry column with it miserable collection of priests, women and other baggage for the delays.

El Cid fully capitalized on the delays on the Aragonese side and caught Pedro's cavalry before they deployed fully (Pedro accepts no responsibility for his deployment!).  The Araganonese lights opted to stand and fight the Zaragozan heavies rather than evade off table - and were routed off table!  The Andalusians carried on to hit the Hidalgos.  The initial clash favoured the Hidalgos, but heartened by El Cid's prescence the muslims held.  Meanwhile Pedro flubbed his command roll trying to convince the Caballeros Villanos to charge a unit of Jinetes, which also meant that Pedro could not join the Hidalgos in melee.

While the horsemen crossed swords the foot sloggers made for the objective - the village.  Sylvain's crossbows got there first, but Stacy's militia and archers were not far off, and each side occupied one half of the village.  Stacy's militia fought well and resisted a charge from the heavy infantry, and his crossbows resisted a charge by a unit of Jinetes.  However, the battle was decided by the cavalry fight (as it should be in 11th century Spain!).

The luck of the dice favoured El Cid, whose personal presence turned the tide of the melee.  Victory went to the Zaragozans, who broke the Hidalgos.  However, the suffered enough to warrant a test themselves and were also broken.  Pedro's division now had lost two units out of three so were broken and the Caballero Villanos retired off table.

This was my first game with the HC/BP  system and while I might tweak things a bit I liked the way it worked. Medieval troops should not be to reliable and should be liable to run off ahead of supports or lag behind.  Also the unit system fits the Grant teaser scenarios nicely.

In the end it was a fun game, with honours for most players (Pedro aside).  Photos from Curt are uploaded below.  Curt provided the natural terrain (mat, vegetation and hills), while the buildings, troops and sheep are mine.  Toys are a mix of Gripping Beast, Perry and Crusader figures, with  scratch built buildings and store bought walls.

The Zaragozans enter the village.

The iman looks for devine help - Curt's dice were the beneficiaries.

Aragonese Jinettees

Pedro deploys sleepily!

The lights trade insults before the heavies show up!

Muslim infantry

The key melee

The Aragonese infantry approach the village after the cavalry melee.  The Caballeros are in the foreground, but will retreat off table shortly.

Mercenary crossbows in the village with Zaragozan infantry in support.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

20 Questions - I Hear It's All The Rage in the UK

A couple of the rejects (see Don't Throw a 1)  started this trail earlier this week, and now I'll have a go/

1.       Favourite Wargaming period and why?

I have dabbled in many, so could pick from many.  However, the one I come back to most often is WW1 and WW2 Naval.

2.       Next period, money no object?
28mm Peninsular War (time constraints  would also have to be overcome!)

3.       Favourite 5 films?
In no particular order

  • North By Northwest
  • Vertigo
  • Clockwork Orange
  • High Fidelity
  • Life of Brian

4.       Favourite 5 TV series?
Again, in no particular order

  • Monty Python
  • I Claudius
  • Monsterpeice Theatre (OK actually Masterpiece Theatre but the Sesame Street Parody is fantastic too)
  • The Amazing Race
  • Lewis/Morse mysteries

5.       Favourite book and author?
Can't pick one, so will pick 5

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Lewis Carrols's Alice books
  • Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next Series
  • Pride and Prejudice

6.       Greatest General? Can’t count yourself!!

Nelson (ok he's a general of the sea!).  Also the most interesting.  This bio of his early years is very interesting, as it shows where the Royal Navy was before Nelson (i ends with Cape St Vincent)

7.       Favourite Wargames rules?

With MacDuff to the Frontier or variants and precursors thereof.  They've given me more enjoyable games over the years than any others

8.       Favourite Sport and team?

I don't follow sport that much, but for professional sports it's baseball and the Boston Red Sox.  Otherwise, winter Olympic sports and team Canada.

9.       If you had a only use once time machine, when and where would you go?

Late 1914 so I could give Beatty a boot in the rear and teach him how to signal properly!  Or to have dinner with Buonoparte on the inauguaral serving of Chicken Marengo!

10.   Last meal on Death Row?

As a celiac, it would be tempting to order something with a ton of gluten in it 'cause no one would care how grumpy it made me!  However, I'd rather go out feeling less than completely wretched so I'll go with
Grilled Bison rib eye medium rare
Baby new potatoes
Grilled vegetables
Portobello mushrooms
A really god Spanish red wine

11.    Fantasy relationship and why?

On the grounds that this is strictly fantasy, Emma Peel.  In real life, I couldn't do any better.

12.   If your life were a movie, who would play you?

Hugh Grant or John Cusack - I'm told I share the charming ineptitude of the characters that they typically play.

13.   Favourite Comic  Superhero?

I don't do comic books per say, but closest would be.

14.   Favourite Military quote?

The exchange between Czar Alexander and Kutuzov on the morning of Austerlitz
'Mikhail Ilarionovich! Why haven't you begun your advance?' 
'Your Highness, I am waiting for all the columns of the army to get into position.' 
'But we are not on the Empress's Meadows , where we do not begin a parade until all the regiments are formed up!' 
'Your Highness, if I have not begun it is because we are not on parade, and not on the Empress's Meadow. However, if such be Your Highness's order. . . .' 

15.   Historical destination to visit?


16.   Biggest Wargaming regret?

Going into 15mms.

17.   Favourite Fantasy job?

Independently wealthy.

18.   Favourite Song Top 5?
Can't pick 5 songs.  Favourite music performers over my lifetime
The Clash
Arcade Fire
David Bowie

19.   Favourite Wargaming Moment?

A game with Ross Mac, using SYW his French vs. Prussians.  We played the CSG Broken Ground scenario with Ross defending and me arriving on table in column.  He took a cavalry heavy army and launched a counterattack before I deployed my column.  My Feldjagers were wiped out, my Frie Korps scattered but the Death's Head Hussars died gloriously to give the infantry time to deploy into squares so that they could hold out until the heavy cavalry was brought up from the rear of the column.
20.   The miserable Git question, what upsets you?

  • Intolerance
  • Boring rock acts with overwrought guitar and drum solos and more time spent on stage shows than on song craft
  • Lots of other things could piss me off, but I try not to dwell on them so I'll stick to the ones that really matter! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Getting Back on the Wagon (Hopefully)

I've been way from the painting and a game but am hoping to get back to it this week.  I was out of town for a few days on a conference, then spent a week taking out a stubborn hedge from our backyard   (and didn't have the energy for much more than reading in the evenings) and then my teenage daughter was home for her one week stop between camps.  Oh yeah and there was some sporting event on TV every night for a lot of that period!

Possible projects to look at include

  • WW2 naval air power in 1/1200 from CapAero (really nice models)
  • WW2 ships - Warspite, Cavour, Trento plus merchantmen
  • War of 1812 Canadian militia and artillery for both sides
However, the winner should be hauling out the El Cid era Spanish and Moors to check their status for a trial game of Hail Caesar.

Monday, August 13, 2012

On Painting Kilts

A comment rail on a recent post over at analogue hobbies moved off on a tangent on painting highlanders.  I'd be interested in hearing how others conquer the kilt.  My personal approach has always been to forget the details and get the big picture right.  While the actual tartans have a lot of detail up close, from any distance when the kilt is being worn and thus moving constantly, the details merge into a blur of earth tones.  Therefore I treat a tartan like a camo pattern - a base coat with a regular semi-contrasting blotchiness on top.  If I get a checkerboard or line pattern into the mix, so much the better but I certainly won't beat myself up for not getting them if the overall looks good from a distance.

Somewhere in in a rubber maid in my basement I have 25mm colonial highlanders from 3 regiments, 2 in kilts and one in trews.  If I get a chance to dig them out and take a photo I'll post them later.   Until such time I'll make do with the following historical photos.

Yes it's me, yes it's the 70s.  'Nuff said!  I can't recall what tartan it was, but you can't tell from the photo.

Same city, but much less emotional scarring from modern re-enacters of the 78th at the Halifax Citadel.  Regardless of the official pattern - it looks like very dark green with thin white line.

Black Watch reenacters and the tartan has almost merged into a solid dark green.  Personally I'm far more worried about the dicing on the socks and bonnets.

Don't know which regiment of tartan but it looks like a dark rust background with a light rust line over top.  And these guys are standing still, at a trot it would be just a rust blur.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Uboat News Update

To follow up on an earlier link posted, it might be a U-boat or it might be a pile of silt.

U boat in Labrador

Monday, August 6, 2012

Reading List - England's Last War Against France

I spend 3 days at the Actuarial Research Conference in Winterpeg last week.  Unusually for a conference it was within driving distance (590kms) so I took a car to save shekels and to give myself added mobility - i.e. hit some games stores and bookstores!  

I picked up some flaming wreckage from Game Knight, since I was so impressed with Curt's for our Tariga convoy game.  Otherwise, there was limited historical stuff but good board game materials available.  Interestingly enough they also have a section of the store devoted to wine and beet making.  Personally I've found that wine and games are offsetting hobbies instead of being complementary - but what ever floats your boat.

Better yet for me was the flagship store for McNally Robinson Canada's largest independent bookstore.    They also believe in combining vices, as they have a very nice restaurant on site!   Find of the day for me was this book, a title I failed to purchase at my local big box last year (and ruing the decision ever since).

I'm only part way through so far, but it looks chock-a-block full of stuff on obscure campaigns and battles (Oran, Dakar, Syria, Madagascar, Casablanca, Algeria...).  There's enough to keep Tim Gow building obscure models and units for months.

Smith gives a really good look at the political background before and during the war.  I also love the title, which sounds like it should be about Waterloo (or Crimea if you're Raglan).

Vintage Naval Ships in the News

I found this on the CBC's website today.  There's a typo in the article, as HMS Raleigh is described as a battlecruiser not a cruiser, but it's an interesting read.
Divers to Document Wreck

The Hawkins class were on the odd duck side, having been too late for WW1 and being an evolutionary dead end by the time WW2 arrived.  Curiously two of the class managed to run themselves around (Raleigh off Labrador in 1922, and Effingham in Norway in 1940), a rare event for 20th century warships.