WELCOME TO THE WARGAMORIUM BLOG

1787-russian-grenadiers2.jpg

Welcome to the Wargamorium Blog.

The Wargamorium is situated in a sub-terrainean location north of the Waterloo battlefield.  The table is 16 foot by 6 foot making it suitable only for historical games (i.e. no gollywobblers!).

The Poteshnyi in the tag line above is a reference to a group assembled by the young Tsar Peter the Great to play out wargames so that he could study the art of war and fortifications. See post below.

At the moment I have armies for

10mm Medievals 1300 to 1493.  Generic forces suitable for a number of nationalities
Franco Spanish War 1635 to 1659 (French and Spanish),
War of the Spanish Succession (French and Allied),
Seven Years War (French and Allied),
Russo Turkish War 1787 – 1792 (Russians only so far),
French Revolution (French, Austrians, Russians),
Napoleonics (French, French Allies, 1805 Russians, 1805/09 Austrians and both 1806 and 1815 Prussians),
Crimean War 1854-56 (French, British and Russians),
Franco Austrian War 1859 (French and Austrians),
Franco Prussian War 1870 (French and German States),
World War One 1914 (French, BEF, Belgians and Germans) and
World War Two 1940 (French and Germans).

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5 new additions to the WARGAMORIUM commissariat.

 

 

001

A gift from my loyal descendants.  Tea has never tasted so good.

A step towards equality among the attendees.

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MEDIEVALS – POLES versus MONGOLS

 

Related image

Last night saw our second attempt at a medieval game using the Kallistra Hordes and Heroes Medieval rules which can be downloaded for free from their website. This time though we used 15mm Poles versus Mongols, (all supplied and painted by Martin) although the bases still fit neatly onto the Kallistra Hexes so it was not a problem.

The Mongols dictated the game from the beginning moving very quickly and unleashing deadly hails of arrows into the slower moving Polish ranks.  The Mongol light cavalry could also evade if the Poles came too close although there were melees with the Mongol heavy cavalry who were also armed with bows. On one occasion one of the Mongol generals got too close to the Polish cavalry who charged and eliminated him but the Mongols were able to manage just as well with one general especially as he could move 5 hexes per move (20” or 50cm) and then had a command radius of a further 5 hexes. The Polish generals had 3 hexes movement and 3 hexes command radius so were cumbersome and slow by comparison and when the Mongols eliminated one of the two  Polish generals the entire Polish right flank was left immobile. All of this reflected the historical reality.

In the game the Mongols easily outmanoeuvred the Poles who split their line into two separate wings to deal with the two attacks but their left both wings with exposed flanks which the Mongols quickly exploited.  Both wings were surrounded and the entire Polish force, including both generals were swiftly eliminated.  The Poles did put up a brave fight but to no avail.  There were few survivors.

Next week we plan to play the same game but with the players reversed so it should be interesting.

A few photographs

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 1346 Medieval | 2 Comments

12mm MEDIEVALS on HEX TERRAIN

1346 Crecy Charge of the French Knights

Last night saw our first medieval game and our first game using 12mm figures.  These figures are all from Kallistra in the UK.  Not only have they a great range but their mail order service is second to none.  We chose figures from their 100 Years War range because they can be used for a wide variety of armies across a number of conflicts and I did not use any national symbols or emblems so that they can represent French, English, Breton, Burgundian, Flemish, Gascon etc.

In addition the game is played on Kallistra’s own hex terrain which has a number of advantages (no measuring being the main one) but take a bit of getting used to.  I have to say that painting 12mm figures is a whole new experience for me and I painted 984 figures in only 6 weeks.  That would take me a year in 15mm.

The rules – Hordes and Heroes Medieval – are free to download from the Kallistra website together with a comprehensive set of army lists and other rules support backed up by an active forum.  They also have a free set of siege rules and sell castles and other fortifications to scale.  That is for another day however as we focused on learning the basic tabletop battle rules first.

The first thing I have to say is that the rules appear to be very simple on first reading but in fact they are far more subtle than they seem. Kallistra say they are working on a second version and I hope they will produce some rule numbering, cross referencing and more examples of play.  Indeed the examples could be separate at the end of the rules so that the size of the rulebook could be reduced for playing.  These are all minor criticisms however.  The basic mechanisms are easy and fast flowing and we finished our first game in an evening.  Familiarity with the rules will speed up future games.  We did encounter a few issues which we felt were not clear and we devised a few house amendments to deal with these.  However, as our understanding of the rules improved with play, we found that the need for such amendments diminished and I suspect that they will disappear altogether after a few more games.

The first test game consisted of a flat open plain so as not to complicate matters and the army lists produced a French army of mounted knights with some units of crossbowmen versus an English army comprised mainly of knights on foot and the legendary longbow men complete with their protective stakes. With thoughts of Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt in mind the English formed up in a defensive line while the French mounted knights left their crossbowmen trailing behind while they charged forward to glory.

The outcome however was not as feared.  The longbow men proved to be not quite as lethal as their historical counterparts and although their stakes did provide some advantage it was not enough to stop the knights.  Obviously the secret is to combine the fire of a number of longbow units each time which is not always easy.  We liked the two part melee process but we did find it a little confusing in places however the dice decided most cases. The use of Generals was more advantageous to the defence and their participation in melee proved very decisive every time.

We learned a lot from our test game and will apply those lessons to our second game which is scheduled for next week.  I will however have to add more infantry other than knights regardless of their historical accuracy as the proportions in my current forces are too strong.

Below are a few photographs to give an idea of the test game.

01. French knights advancing

French knights start their advance

02. French knights come to grips with the Englsih dismounted knights

French knights break through the first line of defence

04. Englsih archers stand firm behind their stakes

English longbow men prepare to defend their stakes

05. More French knights

French knights continue

06. The English dismounted knights stand their ground

Mounted versus foot knights

07. French crossbowmen advanced but never came into range.

French crossbowmen trailing behind never reached the combat

Posted in 1346 Medieval, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

FRANCO SPANISH WAR 1635 to 1659.

 

1643 Mounted arquebusier

Mounted Arquebusier 1643

 

Last night we decided to take a break from Napoleonics and to have another game set in the Franco Spanish War of 1635 to 1659 using the brilliant Tercio rules from Liber Militum.  I have posted links to these already.

Once again we were really impressed by these although we have confined ourselves to the basic rules and have left out the Commanders’ characteristics. All the figures are from Totentanz Miniaturas and they are truly splendid.  The photographs definitely do not do them justice as I am  rubbish photographer and the lighting is overhead fluorescent strips.

We did not create a scenario as such so it could be called an encounter battle.  The Spanish have 6 Tercios and are facing 9 French ‘Reformed Battalions’ which are smaller  but more numerous.  The amount of cavalry and artillery on both sides is equal.

The rules mechanisms are simple and yet subtle and with careful study provide a great game.  The main emphases however are on the initiative and above all the order system.  This consists of order cards which have to be allocated to each unit at the beginning of every move and this not only commits that unit to a specific action but also lists their possible reactions to any enemy movement. It is a well thought out system and we have not felt the need to make one single amendment or house rule of our own. The only addition we made was to create a better playsheet than the one provided which we felt was essential.  The rules are so simple that we use only the playsheet for most of the time.

Although by the time of the Franco Spanish War the Tercios were losing their dominance of the battlefield they were still very formidable formations both in offence and defence and could see off both enemy infantry and cavalry with ease. They are of course slightly less manoeuvrable and more vulnerable to fire which is the only real way to defeat them so the French player will have his work cut out for him. All of these elements are well reflected in the rules.

The game is confined to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 moves so decisions have to be made quickly unless the player wants to lose by default.  This stops games from dragging on to the last man and we thought it is a good idea.

Some photographs below:

001 French cavalry advancing

French cavalry squadrons on the move

002 Spanish Tercio with the batteries

Spanish Tercio awaiting orders

 

 

006 An aerial view of some of the Tercios

An aerial view of the Tercios on the move. Each Tercio has a total of 32 figures all on one base!

009 Tercios in chequer board formation

Tercios in chequer board formation.

007 Spanish battery in action

Spanish battery in action

010 The Spanish Commander and his staff

The Spanish Commander in Chief with his staff.

013 French Reformed Battalions brigaded together

French ‘Reformed Battalions’ – smaller than the Tercios but more numerous in the game.

015 French battery firing

A French battery in action.  The rules restrict the number of guns and they are not very powerful.

005 The Great Conde and his staff

The French Commander in Chief – the Great Condé – and his staff.

016 Patented move counter.

A move counter specially made for the game.

Posted in 1635 to 1659 The Franco Spanish War | Leave a comment

ESR2 – WERTINGEN 1805

              ESR2 – WERTINGEN 1805

 

1805 Wertingen french-dragoon-charge

French Dragoons charge at Wertingen 1805

Last night in the Wargamorium we had our first proper game using the second edition of Et Sans Résultat or ESR2.  The rules are set at Corps level and are quite different to what we are used to and so it took some time and discussion to get going.  We did not have enough time to finish our first game so we have left it set up until next week.

The game was chosen from the campaign booklet for 1805 called ‘Roll Up That Map’ which contains scenarios for 5 battles in the Ulm phase and another 6 battles in the Austerlitz phase of the campaign. The first is Wertingen in October and this was the initial clash between Napoleon’s Grande Armée and the Austrian Army.  The author says that this is an ideal battle for two players at beginner level which is us.

I cheated a little by increasing the size of the Austrian Force and I gave them some artillery but this was so that we could try out as many elements of the rules as possible rather than worrying about who wins or loses this test game.

The main emphasis is on the Command Phase and we found out quite quickly how important the Order system is.  In fact the Command Phase requires most attention as the subsequent phases – Movement, Fire and Close Combat are very streamlined and move quite smoothly after some practice. We did encounter some minor problems but these did not stop the game. The author operates a Yahoo group for the rules and answered my queries within a few hours.

The game started with an Austrian ‘Force’ which had just arrived at the village of Wertingen in Bavaria north east of Ulm. Their commander – Auffenberg – did not realise the French were so close and was surprised when 2 French  Dragoon Divisions appeared across the stream east of his position. The French had attack orders and immediately started towards him bypassing the village and heading for his cavalry behind.  It was obvious that they were going to try to separate the Austrians inside the village from the rest of their command.  The French have overrun two isolated Austrian batteries already and are moving at full speed towards their target.  The game continues next week.

01. Compass Rose

The first requirement. I made this and screwed it to the table as it is important for the different scenarios.

03. French cavalry crossing the stream

The two French Dragoon Divisions cross the stream. Their commander is Exelmans.

04. The village of Wertingen

The village of Wertingen lightly garrisoned by the Austrians. The French Dragoons can be seen in the top left of the photograph.

05. Wertingen from above

A bird’s eye view of the village and the attacking Dragoons. Austrian cavalry and infantry can be seen behind the village nearest the camera.

09. French cavalry starting to bypass the village

Another view of the French Dragoons. There are two Divisions comprising 20 squadrons.

10. Austrian cavalry move up to meet the French

Austrian cavalry and to their right  Grenadiers awaiting the assault.

08. Austrian infantry on the hill west of Wertingen

More Austrian reserves on the hill behind the village.

12. An overview from the south east

Another bird’s eye view of the combat.

13. Home made order markers

Some markers made especially for the game. These are not essential but we prefer to reduce paperwork to a minimum.

1805 Wertingen

 

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ET SANS RÉSULTAT (ESR) Napoleonic wargame rules review

ESR 2 Cover page for blog report

ET SANS RÉSULTAT  (ESR) is a comparatively new and exciting ruleset from The Wargaming Company designed to reflect Napoleonic battles at Army and Corps Commander level.  The title comes from a quote from Marshal Ney after the slaughter at Eylau in 1807 –  “Quel Massacre! Et sans résultat!”

Each player is a Force Commander (Corps or equivalent) and controls a number of Formations (infantry and cavalry divisions, together with relevant back up such as engineers or pontonniers etc.).

Each Corps Commander activates an ‘Objective Order’ from the Army Commander and he in turn issues ‘Directive Orders’ which are activated for each Division under his command. The Corps Commander can intervene to ensure that the Divisional components carry out their orders to his requirements. This is done through a system called ‘leader actions’. This is a key factor in the rules as the Corps Commander can choose from a range of 10 ‘leader actions’ such as taking personal command of a unit, calling up the engineers, creating a grand battery (if he has the ability to do so) rallying units etc.

Divisions can be either ployed (in column of march) for speedy movement or deployed (in battle formation) to fight. The commander’s skill is in deciding when to deploy for battle as the length of time to do this is unpredictable. These are the only two formations as columns, lines, squares or loose order are all below the scope of these rules.

Each move comprises 4 steps – COMMAND, MOVEMENT, FIRE and COMBAT.  Three such moves represents an hour.  Movement is simultaneous and there is a choice of ground scales to suit your armies or table size.  Infantry battalions, cavalry regiments and artillery batteries are each represented by one base.

COMMAND. This is the main emphasis of the game – the orders you give, their activation and the way they are carried out.

MOVEMENT is very simplified to speed up the game. This includes ploying and deploying your Divisions.

FIRE  and COMBAT resolution is also simplified and has the effect of inflicting Fatigue points on opposing Divisions. This can result in Divisions retreating or even breaking.

Overall each player is required to make Corps Commander decisions rather than getting mired in the minutiae of formations, fire and combat. Forward planning and anticipation are the main skills required. This, together with the simplified fire and combat resolution, ensures a fast moving game.

The rules come complete with plenty of examples and a very comprehensive playsheet which alone is sufficient after a few games. There is also a very complete glossary and a section called ‘Raising and Army’ which explains the organisation of the main armies of the period together with a very detailed lists of Commander ratings and Troop gradings.

The rules are available in Europe from Magister Militum and are backed up by a Facebook Page and an active Yahoo Group where the author – David Ensteness  – will very promptly answer any rules queries.

Posted in 1805 - 1815 Napoleonic Wars | 2 Comments

1918 EXTENDING THE BRIDGEHEAD

1918-german-stormtroopers-fighting

 

SECOND MARNE GERMAN BRIDGEHEAD 1918

Our latest game was set in the Marne bridgehead in 1918 which the Germans had established and consolidated before attempting to push farther into France.  This was all part of the great German 1918 offensive and was the nearest they got to Paris and to victory. This offensive was stopped and driven back by the French armies under Foch with the assistance of American, British and Italian contingents not to mention hundreds and hundreds of FT17 tanks..

The game was played using house rules and 20mm old IT Figures which I bought over 25 years ago and which have remained forgotten ever since.

The game started with the French deployed and visible to all but not a German to be seen.  They had the advantage of hidden movement having taken up their positions during the night ready to launch a surprise dawn attack.  The German player therefore had to note the location of his forces on a map and place them on the table only as they became visible. Of course they were hidden in the woods nearest the French lines so that shooting started in Move 1 and the casualties mounted quickly.

Not knowing where to expect the enemy the French defence was spread out across the width of the table but of course the Germans concentrated their attack and after 5 or 6 moves the result was clear and after losing over 50% casualties the French commander pulled back leaving the ground to the victorious Germans.

No trenches in this area at this time as the fighting took place in open country.

The rules were simple and fast moving and overall gave a very good game and an enjoyable evening.

01-germans-emerge-from-the-woods

Germans emerge from the woods

02-stormtroopers-occupy-a-building

Stormtroopers occupy a building.

03-a-french-platoon

A French platoon defending a walled area.

04-french-platoon-in-a-wood

A French platoon in a wood awaiting orders.

05-french-in-a-building

French defending a ruined building.

07-the-germans-emerge-from-the-woods

More Germans emerge to turn the French left.

08-a-full-german-company-awaiting-orders

A complete German company waiting orders to follow up.

 

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