Saturday, 15 December 2012

Dennewitz - Age of Eagles

Probably the final club game of the year was the battle of Dennewitz using Age of Eagles rules.  Most of the players had played Fire & Fury and a couple of us had played the Napoleonic versions before so we had an idea what to expect.

Initial forces face off.
Dennewitz has a lot of the troops arriving on table throughout the battle, Allied and French fresh troops swinging the fighting from attack to defence over the day.

Prussian Corps advances.

The arrival of Reyniers Corps meant that the French had a slight advantage in numbers and artillery and the whole Corps started to make for the Prussians as fast as possible.

French arrivals.

Unfortunately the distance these troops had to cover meant that 'as fast as possible' actually turned into 'hopefully before dark'.

French almost ready to launch an attack.

Stalemate in the centre.
Meanwhile inconclusive firing and combat in the centre meant that the battle would be decided on the French left when Reynier managed to press home his attack.

As darkness falls the French attack goes in.
With a couple of hours of 'battle' time remaining but very little 'real' time the French have no choice but to launch everything in charges as soon as they come within range.  Over two turns all of the infantry and reserve cavalry pile into the Prussian line which starts to buckle.

Unfortunately after finally getting to the good bit we ran out of time!

Perhaps a battle with troops deployed closer together and less manoeuvre would emphasise the stronger points of the rules.  We'll certainly give it another go but the jury is still out.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Legions of Battle Fantasy Rules Released

Legions of Battle are a set of Fantasy wargame rules designed to allow you to fight epic battles between a vast array of creatures and races.

The rules themselves can be tailored to suit any fantasy setting and the game system is designed to allow you to create and field any troops that you like, limited only by your imagination and figures available. A comprehensive points system allows the design of troops as you think they should be represented.

The basic game mechanics themselves are simple to pick up and play, this allows special units, characters, abilities and magic to be added without slowing the game down to a crawl.

Alternate activation phases within a turn means that players on both sides are kept involved and the game is perfectly suited to large battles with multiple players per side.

Legions of Battle from Crusader Publishing

The basing system has been designed so that fantasy armies used for other rule systems can be fielded without any need to rebase figures.

Throughout the rules you’ll find lots of examples that help to explain and clarify the game mechanics. These examples play an important part in showing how the rules work and if you are planning on fighting a battle but do not have time to read the entire book skimming these examples will give you an idea of how the games works.

The design concept pits units against each other rather than individual figures and this is reflected in the ‘mass battle’ feel that the rules have. After all 100 Goblins fighting against 80 Dwarfs is hardly an epic battle so using individual figures and skirmish game mechanics as the basis for the rules system makes little sense.

Having said that what is a Fantasy Game without an Elric, Gandalf or Conan? Characters such as Heroes or Legends, Magicians and Monsters all play their part in your army. Some are powerful enough to take on entire enemy units themselves, others controlling the battle, using their magical ability or leading units into combat.

The unit design and points system given at the end of the rules allow you to create pretty much anything you fancy. It is consistent throughout all races and units so there do not have to be official lists, no figure restrictions, no ‘must have’ super units or characters - unless you decide you want to design some yourself of course!

The rules have been designed to represent what can best be described as ‘generic fantasy’. This should allow you to customise rules and create your own fantasy settings by using Legions of Battle as a starting point. The game mechanics and troop design system are very flexible - how you use them is up to you!

More information, fast play sheets and contents page (so you can see what is in it!) are available to download from the Legions of Battle page.

The rules are available from the Crusader Publishing Shop as a 59 page PDF for just £3.00

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Nachod 1866 at Wargamer Show

The club put on a demo game at the wargamer show in Birmingham last weekend.  The battle was 'Nachod' from the 1866 Austro-Prussian war, rules were Quick March Attack.

Unfortunately the lighting in the hall turns everything yellow!


Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Battle of Sezanne 24th February 1814

Our 1814 campaign is now in its 10th turn and the allied forces are pushing towards Paris.  The French have fought and won several battles, each of which has seen the French attacking isolated formations and then moving away before the allies can bring their superior numbers to bear.

The latest battle saw the French attack through the centre (see the 1814 campaign page) against the Autro-Russians at Sezanne.  The allies had 31,000 troops and over 150 guns but were badly short of cavalry in those totals, barely 1500 Austrian Dragoons and Chevaux Legere of the III Corps.  The large allied cavalry formations were situated in areas either side of Sezanne and while this ensured that the armies flanks were secure the lack of mounted troops on the battlefield meant the allied defence would be severly hampered.

Allied deployment behind the Grand Morin.
On the other hand the French had various formations converging on the town of Sezanne, they started by having slightly fewer men on the battlefield with 30,000 infantry and only 46 guns.   Napoleon was expecting plenty of formations throughout the day, including the Guard infantry, cavalry and artillery who had forced marched to the battle.
French attack on the far flank Austrian cavalry trying to delay the attack.
The battle began at 12.00 noon with an immediate attack by the French left flank, the allies threw forward their only cavalry in an attempt to delay the French and force them to deploy early.  It achieved its aim and the French deployed their guns and some of Charpentiers 7th Young Guard Division to face off the cavalry.  However, Colberts Guard cavalry division had arrived and pushed ahead to the Grand Morin stream.

French flank attack reaches the stream.
Throughout the last few campaign turns there has been bad weather and heavy rain, this has reduced the amount of movement points available to formations and, unknown to the French, flood waters turned the Grand Morin stream into a major obstacle.  As soon as the Guard cavalry reached the stream they found that it would not simply be a slight reduction in their movement but a full turn to cross from one side to the other.  Unfortunately this happened to be directly below the 36 guns of the Russian 11th Corps.  Under withering fire the cavalry crossed the stream and launched themselves at the gun line.
The charge of the French Guard cavalry

Stoutly defending their guns the Russian artillery took a heavy toll on the attackers.  The Empress Dragoons took crippling losses from defensive fire, the survivors scattering back across the stream.  The Grenadiers and Chasseurs a Cheval were made of sterner stuff and even though they suffered horrendous casualties the gun line was overrun.  With the French across the stream and more troops arriving the situation was starting to look grim for the allied defence.  And then the Old Guard infantry and artillery arrived...
Forced marching to the battlefield, so fast they look almost blurred...

Once the Guard artillery started to deploy and bombard the allied centre the casualties started to mount and Schwarzenberg started to need army morale rolls to remain on the field.  The rules used a cut down version of March Attack and the army morale kicks in at 30% losses in infantry and cavalry units.  Army commanders need to pass tests or the army is forced to retreat, the commander ability adds to his chance to pass and also allows a number of 'free' failures.
The French Guard attack the allied centre.

Allied centre at 3.30pm after the right flank has crumbled.  1866 Austrian stand-ins for Gyulai's III Corps!

By 3.30 the Russian 11th Corps had all but been destroyed as a fighting formation, the French were beginning to roll up the allied line and the Guard had been ordered forward in the centre to deliver the final crushing blow to the defenders. It was at this point that Schwarzenberg was forced to admit defeat and the Corps commanders were ordered to retreat.

 Another French victory - Vive L'Empereur!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Borodino 200

Like many other games clubs worldwide the Cobridge Old Contemptibles took the opportunity to re fight Borodino last weekend.  The game was set up on the Friday afternoon and folks arrived Saturday morning to get started on the battle.

We were using 'Quick March Attack' to re fight the battle, this has a scale of 24" to a mile and a unit represents approx 12 guns, 1500 infantry or 750 cavalry.  Even at this scale the Russians had something like 140 units on table and the French almost 150!  With a high proportion of artillery on both sides this was always going to be bloody!

Russian Deployment
French Right Flank Deployment

The table was 12 foot by 6 foot which meant that the battlefield was slightly larger than it should have been, this was more to accommodate the players around the table than anything else. Even so the troops filled their deployment zones and the French Guard had to settle for starting off table.

Ney's Corps launches its attack on the Fleches.

The first French assault was directed through the woods on their right while a Grand Battery was formed to bombard the Fleches.  First thing in the morning the Polish and the majority of Davout's Corps started forcing their way through the woods. While the Russian resistance was sporadic the terrain meant that the French would take some time before their presence could be felt.

The French Grand Battery started to take its toll on the Russian gun line and at 10.30am Ney launched an assault with his Corps.  Unfortunately the French flank attack through the woods was not yet in position to give support, there was nothing opposing the Russian guns in the centre and finally there were plenty of Russian artillery still in reserve.

Ney marched forward into almost 60 guns on his objective and had another 60 that could direct fire into his leftmost regiments.  The troops pushed forward for over an hour but the unsupported attack was destined to fail almost before it was launched.  As a Russian player I can say we were relived that the French artillery had been replaced by an infantry assault that we beat back almost with ease.  Ney's Corps  took no more part in the days battle.

The situation at midday.
After the failure of the first French assault the artillery continued with their duel.  The French had fewer heavy guns but the Corps reserve and Guard artillery were starting to gain the upper hand.  By the time we had completed the 12.00 turn at the end of Saturday the battle was still open for either side to win. 

Sunday morning and the French players must have had a half time chat as they came on with a vengeance.  Davout and Poniatowski had pushed through to the edges of the woods and were in a position where they could launch an attack on the flank of the Fleches.  While the Russians had deployed an artillery line to face this attack it was far from an ideal position to be in.  Meanwhile Napoleon had called forward the Guards and they were to attack over the same ground that Ney had crossed earlier in the day.

This time the French assaulted all along the front in an effort to pin down the other Russian Corps and stop them sending any re-enforcements to their left.  As much of the French heavy Corps artillery had been used to pound the left flank the attacks did pin the Russians but at a horrendous cost in infantry casualties.

The Russian right flank, almost untouched.
Edge of your seat time.
Second assault on the Russian left
The second assault on the Russian left was co-ordinated with attacks on the centre and through the woods.  This meant that the battered Russian artillery could not halt the French Guard and the defences are assaulted by fresh Young Guard regiments with plenty of cavalry and artillery support.  At this point the Russians decided that the Fleches could not be held and a new gun line needed to be formed behind the stream.  Falling back helped concentrate the Russian troops who, by now, were outnumbered and the Russians only had their Guard remaining as a reserve.

French cavalry unleashed against the centre.
Due to the massive losses in infantry the French centre was being held by the cavalry Corps, sensing that the Russians were nearing breaking point these troops were ordered forward.  Almost 10,000 cavalry attacked the Russian centre, the gun line was overrun and Russian dragoons and Cuirassier counter attacked in vain.  While the battle raged in the centre the Russian left flank was being pushed further and further back, French artillery were now blasting Russian infantry formations forced into square.  Army morale started to affect both sides but the Russian CinC failed to inspire any confidence in his troops and by 4.00pm the battered remnants of the Russian army was forced to retreat from the field.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Battle of Chalons, 16th Feb 1814

The second major battle of our club 1814 campaign was fought outside Chalons on the 16th February.  This was the second day of the battle, the first being a dull affair where both sides refused to attack as they were waiting for more troops to arrive on the field.  The second day saw both sides with more troops and prepared to make a fight of things.

Deplyment at 8.00 am.

The campaign situation was that the French had advanced to Chalons to cross the Marne and relieve the forces that were bottled up in Reims (see campaign map).  The starting positions see the French in a thumb shaped pocket with its base at the town of Chalons, Prussian and Russian troops are to their south while Wurttemberg and Russian forces are North of them.

French launch an attack to the north.

The 8.00am turn sees the first of the French arrivals pass through Chalons, unfortunately for the allies it is Guard Infantry and without even firing a shot they thoroughly demoralise both Allied commanders!

French Guard arrive on the battlefield

Wurttemberg and Russian troops ready to fight, or so it seemed...

At this point the commander of the northern part of the army attempted to fall back, cavalry about faced, artillery limbered and moved away and infantry columns marched back towards their base line.  Whether this was an attempt to redeploy further away from the French or an attempt to quit the field is not quite clear - whatever the reason it was a disaster.  With almost the entire French Guard Cavalry Corps plus suppport hardly a mile away Grouchy unleashed Hell!

Using a modified 'Quick' version of the March Attack rules allows for strategic as well as tactical movement and with each turn representing 30 minutes that mile (24") was covered in no time at all.  Napoleon took the initiative in the next turn and something like 6000 cavalry piled into the rear of the IV Wurttemberg Corps and the 3rd Russian Dragoon Division.  It was so bad I didnt have the heart to take any photos...

To the South von Kleist's 2nd Prussian Corps seemed to have no more interest in attacking, even less so when the French Reserve Artillery started to arrive.  The entire southern force marched off table except for a rear guard of cavalry that put up a brave fight with Schwarzenberg leading numerous charges himself.  It almost seemed as though he had a suicidal death wish but he managed to leave the field with only his ego bruised.

By 10.30 am the battle was over, more French troops were arriving every hour and the Allied forces had either been destroyed or had retreated from the field.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

1814 Napoleon at Bay Campaign

I have recently started a Napoleonic campaign at the local club based on the Boardgame 'Napoleon at Bay' covering the 1814 campaign. Rather than use the detailed hex map I changed it to an area based campaign map.

The boardgame rules were ignored and instead the campaign uses a simple area movement system with various speeds for various troop types.

Army lists have been put together from various sources including the game itself and historical OB's culled from the internet and books.  I dont pretend that they are perfect but its enough to say that the French have their work cut out for them!

1814 Campaign Map

Grey area names denote major towns while those with a thick border are fortress towns. 

The first major battle was at Brienne and the campaign is in its 7th turn with another major battle about to be fought at Chalons sometime next week.  I'll take my camera along and make it my fist battle report for the blog.

Pleasantly Surprised by Minifigs

I have recently started a Napoleonic campaign at the local club (Cobridge Old Contemptibles) based on the Boardgame 'Napoleon at Bay' covering the 1814 campaign.  While the club members have a good collection of 15mm Napoleonic figures I needed to add some more French to my own army.  There are a lot of manufacturers to choose from but as I already had a lot of 'old' Minifigs I decided to have a look at their 'new' ranges.

First class service from Minifigs, I had the figures in my hands a few days after ordering them and everything was as ordered.  I'd say that there was more flash on some of the horses and cannons than I would have liked but a bit of work with a scalpel had them looking fine.  You can click on the images for a larger version (apparently).
The figures are pretty slender in comparison to some of the newer ranges and more '15mm' than '18mm' but they fit in well with the troops that I already had and that suited me quite well.

Old Guard Foot...
...and horse artillery

Some of the artillery poses seemed a little dramatic and it was awkward to get a crew of  four that looked like they were all at the same stage of firing a cannon.


The newer horses are a vast improvement over the old ones. I enjoyed painting them and the finished figures look to have just the right amount of movement and again this fits in with what I already have.

General & ADC

The figures are based on 40mm wide stands with the cavalry 30mm deep and the artillery 40mm deep.  This is based up for the March Attack Napoleonic rules that we are using as the basis for the campaign.
Group Photo
Despite having some reservations about the age of the range I was really pleased with the way that the figures turned out.

Welcome to the Crusader Blog

Hello and welcome to the new blog.  After having read lots of other blogs I decided it was time I joined in and had a go myself.

The Blog called Crusader Publishing but I have no intention of restricting my posts to the games and rules that I happen to publish.  Wargaming is my hobby as well as my livelihood and I'm just as keen to post about other people's games and figures as I am my own.  There are links along the top of this page and any rules or downloads mentioned should generally be avaiable from the 'real' Crusader Publishing site rather than cluttering up this blog. 

I'm currently working on half a dozen things (like most wargamers I know!) and I guess I just start to waffle on about them as I go along, hopefully someone will find it of at least passing interest :-)