Squarebashing 1914 – Russians vs Germans

Last night was the debut for the Russians. As part of a horse trade deal a long time ago I didn’t have many options of composition. The 620pt force being

  • 3 regular
  • 10 reservists
  • 1 professional cavalry
  • 2 regular cavalry, 
  • 2 reservist cavalry
  • 4 MG
  • 4 Artillery

So a veritable horde… with more cavalry than I’m used to.

img_3231

 The game was against Rays 1914s Germans, and his army was larger than normal with 3 units of his own cavalry and , no professionals at all. 

With our usual lackadaisical start neither of use invested much effort in the countdown to war, just using the normal default values. Through slightly better dice the Russians won and ended up attacking – reconnaissance in force.  Things to note

  • Ray rolled low twice on the events chart and ended up deducting 6 from his artillery assets
  • On the events I scored the opponent cannot deploy in the 2 end columns (on one side) & one turn of no scenery penalty movement. 

So, the game. As attacker I tried to move all the terrain to my side of the table and hopefully time it well with the movement event. This worked  reasonably successful.  The master stroke was that having 5 units of cavalry allowed me to utilise the vacant columns in the first turn – this was a real game winner. Moving first meant big columns of Cossacks racing down the flanks with relative impunity.

 img_3232

The mob of Russian  infantry lurched out of all the bad going, and was looking frighteningly powerful as after the depletions of the German left flank left them looking fragile.  A well placed point effect on the German positions meant that they would have a rather painful morale phase.  It might all be over for Christmas!

However, the cruel mistress that SB is had other plans. The German turn saw a suppression barrage placed skilfully over the whole Russians advance. With 13 units of infantry it hard to disperse them to reduce effect. While the suppression barrage is not ‘a killer’ in as much as the casualties it inflicts are smaller. The Reservist saves usually mean that there is a casualty and therefore cause for a moral test. This is really exasperated by the factors of reservists, under barrage with casualties… the morale dice just rack up.  The Russian duly failed most of the tests  – AND  – then because they are suppressed cannot retire and take another 6 hits … again with terrible reservists saving throw.  It started brilliantly and turned to **** in one turn. It looked like the entire infantry assault had stalled due to one suppression barrage!

 img_3233

The Cossacks were have more freedom running around the German rear. They had already destroyed one unit of German cavalry and were looking for  targets of opportunity.

The Germans were holding on and took some rather risky strategy with their reserves which did not pay off, they ended up with their artillery exposed in the line allowing the stoic Russians to press in those two places. However , the dice dictated against it ,even with a couple of guns they beat of a sizeable Russian infantry assault. The guns had good support and the dice were wacky.  So rather than breaking the German lines in two places, the Russians stalled and ended up standing right in front of the German lines.

The Russian cavalry in the rear delivered a textbook flank charge on the German reserves after a textbook point effect barrage preceded it  – damaging the MG – UUUrah! The Germans scattered off table , losing bases left, right and centre. Moving off table was probably best thing for them as while taking a savage beating they were still ‘at strength’ and now safely in reserve so victory points that could be gained would be limited.

 img_3235

As the game concluded the game looked favourable to the Russians, and fate had seen big swings in fortune in this game. The Russians has achieved 2 breakthroughs , captured 2 out of 4 objectives and occupied the max allowed squares in rows 2 & 3.  However, this was countered but a frightful 27 bases of ‘killed’ troops and Ray having some re-roll events on the objective scored. SO, it ended up with a +7 to the Russians – Minor Victory. The Russians, while on paper look poor and their army rating of 27 reflecting that, have some good synergies. The cavalry and empty flank zones is a great combination. The sheer mass of reservists gives them great resilience … but not for the feint hearted as you cannot make an omelette without breaking some of those Russian eggs.

Great game. Squarebashing always delivers a fun evening with lots of twists and turns.

Squarebashing Day – 10th Dec – Battlefield Hobbies.

squarebashing

With a drum roll….! The date for this is Sat 10th December 2016.

The venue is now Battlefield Hobbies in Daventry.

Hopefully the centrally located venue will help those on the periphery of the country. The entry fee is £10 per player. This includes lunch 🙂

The theme will be “up til the guns of August”. The period will from 1900 up to, and including 1914. It will be a team event (entries permitting). The armies are divided into 2 Pools, grouped by conflict. Each team must pick a pair of armies from a single conflict.

The allowed lists are –

There will be 2 games, Team against Team (As vs Bs). For each game he sum of each team score will be added to the team total. To encourage using under valued armies the sum total of army rating will be deducted from final score.

The terrain will be pre set , other than its RAW. All painted figures please, we want it to look nice!

If you want the full experience there is a t-shirt accompany the event. Profits from which help to finance the RFCM forums (£2)

RFCM shop

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-19-54-26

Thanks Simon

Age of Sigmar – this time High Elf Alliance

Today we played round two our Age of Sigmar competition. As we found out we were 1 week later for the summer campaign , so the results would just be for our own fun. Today I gave a run out for my High Elves.

I took Althran Stormrider Host war scroll battalion . Which consisted of

  • Hero on Griffon
  • Elf Mage
  • 5 Swordmasters
  • 10 Lothern Sea Guard
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers
Actually the contents of the Battle for Blood Island- which I have – and 600pts exactly. Looking like karma…
Logans Seraphon remained the same
  • Skink Starpriest
  • 20 Saurus warriors
  • 10 Skinks with javelin
  • 10 Skinks with blowpipe
  • 3 Ripperdactyls
The elves looked very outgunned. After reading the warscrolls then it seemed like the older models didn’t have such an oomph as the later releases. We played take and hold again, with slightly less terrain (doing away with the nonsense polystyrene tiles!). The game has a string narrative. Serpahon starting   – with Ripperdactyls off table, ready for their swooping attack. There was a general advance The Saurus drummers allowing them to march – but then not to charge. In the subsequent Elf turn Althran on his Griffon showed was a monster can do. With Hand of Glory cast (re-roll hits and wounds) with a massive 16” one – he is flying – then rolling a double 6 for the charge allowed him to charge whoever he wished. The target was the big block of 20 Saurus warriors.
He did great dispatch, inflicting 10 casualties on the unit.  The Saurus had already taken 2 casualties from an Arcane bolt earlier in the turn. in the Battleshock phase Logan threw a 6 , adding 12 … even with a bravery of 10 that meant another 8  lizardmen fled the field. The mistake was not to have given them inspiring presence that turn ( given to some Skinks who were skirmishing ahead of the lines). So it was looking good for the Elves from the get-go. However, in the next turn the Ripperdactyls cinematically swooped down to wreak revenge! this they did.
With their initial boosted attacks from the warscroll battalion they took Althran down to 2 wounds with their clawing attacks to start. The beak attacks are only 1 dice attack, but each time they are successful they get to roll another attack. These exploded attacked finished off the brave elf nobleman. The following turns saw the elves turing their attention to the Ripperdactyls and pepper with arrows and a few arcane bolts saw them off. With all the big beasts gone, it was down the infantry. The Ellyrian reavers had also been picked off by the Rilpperdactyls. The sword masters had some success , but with only a low model count they suffer from mortal wound spells (arcane bolt ect), as soon as they are less than 5 their usefulness to capture objectives is diminished. Finally the skinks ran out of room. As ‘wary fighters’ they can break off from combat , being safe to shoot next turn. However against the elves who shoot back …and with elf shields 4+ save (re-rolling 1s & 2s in shooting) they were getting the worse of the deal.
The final nail came with a the Elf mage longbombing a charge to attack the Skink Starpriest. With ‘Arcane bolt’ followed up with ‘hand of gloried’  sword and the tiny lizard was dispatched.
 
So victory for the elves, only minor as they didn’t have enough troops to hold both objectives!
Great game. I’m really enjoying these Age of Sigmar games. They have a real simplicity, but with some clever decision making. No monsters are too powerful as they can be ground down by infantry. Infantry are vulnerable to high losses due to battleshock, so nothing is massively survivable. Its hard to make anything approximating a deathstar! no 2++ re-rollables here

Age of Sigmar

Today we played a game of the much maligned Age of Sigmar. Logan has been collecting Seraphon, and with the release of the Generals handbook if was a breeze to get a ‘pick up’ game organised.  He had just finished painting up his models, to get a game in for the Summer campaign , with a week to got before ‘back to school’. We used the first scenario – take and hold, which is a typical capture the flag game. We only used 600pts to try and get a game that we could setup, play and get to a conclusion, in the time we had available.

Logan’s Seraphon was a Shadowstrike Starhost warscroll battalion   (2 units of Skinks, Skink priest and Ripperdactyls), and a unit of 20 Saurus.

I dug out some some Nurgle, 5 Blightkings, 20 Plaguebearers, 2 units of 3 Nurglings and a Herald as leader. As I had the keyword Nurgle in my army selection Blightkings counted as battleline.
The terrain was rather crowded (too much so was the view afterwards), and we fought over a ruined village next to a river- in reality I found some old terrain tile that hadn’t been used in 20 years, so needed a trot out
The Seraphon were rather devastating. They have rather a lot of anti Chaos buffs (as the Seraphon manifest from the blazing light of Azyr – new fluff)
 
The game started very quickly the Saurus marched (with drummer), and threw high on the charge fighting the Plaguebearers on the riverbank. This was to be the chunky combat of the game. The Saurus , being given inspiring presence were immune to battle shock. The Plaguebearers as now even more of a tarpit, they get a 5+ save , with a subsequent  5+ save – Disgustingly Resilient ( I will not call it Feel no Pain 😉 ) They during battle shock if they throw a 1 they get 1d6 plague bearers back. This fight ground out.
My Blightkings were lead a merry dance with by the Skinks, the Starpriest hitting them with 2 spells each turn – typically done d3 Mortal wounds each time. Not something that a 5 model unit wants.  The Skinks poor out a lot of shooting and when I did close to contact , as wary fighters the skinks can break off during their ‘activation’ in the combat phase. With the Plaguebearer/Saurus combat being the main focus, that meant that quite often they would activate first and break off with no loss.
 
The Ripperdactyls start off table as part of the battalion rules, arriving when needed. They come with a Bloat toad model, who as a non-combatant moves around the table giving away their arrival point. When fighting within 2” of the toad the Ripperdactyls go into a frenzy. Combining the ‘Swooping Dive’ rule with the ‘Strike from the Skies’, they come down with a vengeance. In this case some unsuspecting Nurselings camped on the objective felt their wrath. Normally these little spuds just shrug off hits. 5 wounds per base, remove all excess hits at the end of the phase. But the toad has shuffled next to them and the reptilian Stukas obliterated them in 1 attack.
The jig was up for Nurgle, the plaguebearers stuck in a long running combat (killing 20 Sauruses takes a while!), Nurglings wiped out, and the Blightkings less that 5 models so could not control any objective.
I have to admit I really enjoyed this game. It was ‘lite’ for sure, but needed thought and gave some interesting decisions in the game. It was a bit like Warmachine, but without the terminally fiddly bits that that comes with.  The generals handbook was excellant for making the game quick to set up, and the force selection was a breeze with all the ‘upgrade’ minutiae  from WFB gone. The app was excellent too. Add your troops to ‘my battle’ and you can keep a track of all your units quickly without constantly having the ‘book lookup’ – Free too!
Recommended

MeG – Spartacus Campaign

spartacusfLast night we played a game that was a combination of introduction and campaign game. Dino, Paul and Peter played for the first time. I picked a game from the 3rd Servile war – Spartacus campaign. To make it a closer run thing , I picked the Romans to be led by Crassus – where the Slaves finally get beaten.

 

 

One way to play this campaign is a single game pickup. You can select lists from the campaign pack, select a date. Substitute the campaign maps for the one in the rules and away you go.

Just to talk about the lists for a moment (they are a bit fast and loose, close to 12K points).

The Spartacus list is

Spartacus

There are couple of campaign rules in play.

  • Spartacus gets a 40% bonus to scouting is he chooses to ‘invade’ (Night Attack)
  • The Slaves can also substitute the Apennine backdrop as their secure flank option ( Impassable mountain range)

The Roman list is

Crassus

There are couple of campaign rules in play for Crassus

  • Homeland Muster, not allies allowed
  • Garrison troops, at least 25% of TuGs must be poor
  • Seasons tactician, the C-in-C must be at least talented.

During the PBS stage, Spartacus and his slaves dominated. As a legendary leader they beat Crassus (red vs yellow – close thing though). They picked to defend selecting the most central location in Italy. Peter as the Roman had some decent cards, but it seemed that neither side was worried about moving from this location. The Slaves has 9 cards (3 scouting) to the Romans 7 (4 Scouting). The Slaves held on to their best 3 cards for scouting, and the Romans 2. The desultory movement was back and forth to the adjacent square, ending up with initial location

The terrain was dense with secure flank. The slaves picked the Apennine mountain, alongside some large compulsory rough hills. At this point they didn’t realise that the Romans were flexible so could switch between close and loose order. However, it was probably a good plan to at least avoid the potential ‘shove’ that close vs loose would get in the open.

A few more optional, smaller hills were placed and that concluded the battlefield. The hills were scattered evenly across the table, but it did give the slaves a good defensive position

Both sides had held onto their best scouting cards, from the prior stage – But they neutralised each other both sides having 1 red, 2 yellows. The Romans had an extra green, but not enough to give them a discernible advantage.

The armies deployed 4 groups at a time. The slaves just having a slab of ‘imitation’ legionaries, sandwiched between the ‘mob’. Crassus’s army seemed small by comparison, with just 8 TuG of Legionaries (2 of which were poor)

The plan was simple, as a test of the rule mechanisms and introduction to the game, both armies would butt each other, neither side demonstrating any tactical finesse.

The Roman army chose to float Crassus and let his subordinates take the strain. With hindsight Pete thought that this was not such a good idea, but I’m not so sure. Certainly it demonstrated the difference in the command structure.

In the fighting the Slaves held their own. The Roman equipped slaves being average impact weapon matching the Roman. The legionaries has a bit of bad luch by losing a couple of bases to skirmishing shephards ( 2 wounds on 3 black dice!) , but as the fight settled down the Roman quality started to show. Being melee expert, and average gave them a 2 dice colour advantage against the regular slaves. Combined with the ability to shove loose order (vs close) the poor slaves started to take a lot of damage. However, this was mitigated by the fact that the slaves had cunningly arranges that each legion was fighting at least 2 TuGs. So from an attrition perspective a legion could only take 3 losses, vs the Slave 4.5 per tug ( so actually against 2 TuG, the romans need to inflict 9 kills). As long as they kept throwing a white dice the Slaves can attrit their way to victory.

When we called time , the Romans looks shakey, most legions had taken a couple of casualties and were looking like they would be swamped by Spartacus and his followers.